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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

The "Practical" Man on "Fancy Farming."

The "Practical" Man on "Fancy Farming."

These remarks about early beginnings at Waerenga Experimental Farm are preliminary to an account of the writer's impressions of the work done here, and at the other State farm at Ruakura, gathered during a recent visit of inspection after an interval of two or three years since his previous visit. The natural character of the laud at Waerenga, and its popular reputation as being practical!:—worthless for cultural purposes, have been dwelt on to enable renders to realise the real public value of the operations and expenditure upon this place. It is the fashion among so-called "practical" farmers to belittle and sneer at all State efforts in the direction of educational work, in actual farming and orchard practice. What particularly aggravates the struggling small farmer is that, at these State farms, things are done on a scale and in a way, owing to the command of adequate capital, which he feels it is hopeless for him to emulate. After all, this feeling is very natural, and should be allowed for in criticising the depreciatory remarks on "fancy farming" which emanate from the average settler at farmers' meetings and elsewhere. We all know that every-thing becomes comparatively easy, from running a business to getting into Parliament, with the command of money. Human nature, therefore, being what it is, we ought not to judge harshly the unfairness and sometimes apparent ignorance of the opinions expressed about the waste of public money that goes on in keeping up such institutions us Waerenga, Ruakura. Moumahaki and Weraroa. These condemnatory remarks are often the natural expression of an exasperated feeling that at the State farms a show is made of farming achievements which the speaker feels he could himself accomplish with the same expenditure of capital. It is true that very often he is mistaken in this idea, because without the requisite know ledge how to spend the money wisely, he might spend twice as much and achieve Jar less than the trained agriculturist. But it is not surprising that, with that proper conceit of him-self that characterises any man of an independent spirit, he is 'convinced he could do as well, if not hotter under equally favourable financial conditions.