Ashburton Guardian Manga est Veritas et Prævalebit TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 1919. FARMERS' UNION.
Tlie annual meeting of Lire Ashburton Farmers' Union was not a very cheerful gathering, judging ■by the statements made thereat, and obviously the time has come , for drastic departures from past procedure. In theory, all County farmers should be attracted by the Union; in practice few give it their support. This indifference is no new development, and the task of arousing enthusiasm where it should be spontaneous, has become so arduous that the presidency of the branch, instead .of being the. honour the position deserves, is regarded; apparently, as an incubus to be avoided, except by the mpst courageous. It serves no good purpose to condemn County farmers for ignoring the Union* unless evidence is produced that such farmers are to blame. Most country dwellers, when paying their weekly visit to Ashburton, have considerable business to transact, and cannot afford to surrender two hours or more to attend a meeting which, too often, has little practical result. Interesting lectures are given, occasionally, but time does not allow of adequate treatment of the subject dealt, with, especially if the lecturer has to travel by the North-bound express. There was truth in Mr W. T. Lill's statement, that Canterbury people are a satisfied community, and this cheerfulness prevents many fanners being attracted by the pessimism not infrequent in many utterances at Farmers' Union debates. ISTo matter how kindliness of heart disguises it, the real cause of the failure of the Ashburton branch, «$ the Union is the lack of new Jfeftd. The stalwarts who have Hone great work in the past should not volunteer to continue executive duties, but should insist that the younger farmers take over the reins of office, the veterans being willing, if asked) to give advice when occasion arises. We suggested this a year ago, and were duj.y reprimanded, but subsequent developments have not proved that we were wrong. It would be a calamity if the branch were allowed to continue its senile course without an effort at re-invigoratiorc,' and the Provincial executive of the Union should -make it .an early duty to enquire, locally, as to why this particular branch has become moribund. It is, of course, necessary to make such enquiries among non-members. The suggested sub-branches might be a panacea, Lowcliffe, for instance, providing an excellent example of what can be done in this direction. Believing, as we do, it is in the best interests of the farmers that there should be an organisation that can speak and work for farmers as a class, and that the Farmers' Union, if efficiently conducted, could do all that is necessary, we trust that matters will not be allowed to drag on in the. past -unsatisfactory way, but that definite and really drastic steps . will be taken to make the Ashburton branch as important and as strong as the resources and wealth, of the district warrant.