BYGONE DAYS: Ulster premier to meet farmers’ deputation after his recent illness

Sir Basil Brooke, Minister of Agriculture for Northern Ireland, pictured in 1939 driving a David Brown 25hp tractor which was demonstrated to trainees at Greenmount College
Sir Basil Brooke, Minister of Agriculture for Northern Ireland, pictured in 1939 driving a David Brown 25hp tractor which was demonstrated to trainees at Greenmount College

The Northern Ireland Prime Minister’s (Lord Craigavon) announcement this week in 1933 that, with Sir Edward Archdale, that he would be “pleased to discuss the introduction of a milk marketing scheme” was welcomed with “much satisfaction” among producers and retailers in the province.

Following the resolution passed at a meeting of milk producers in Belfast, the secretary of the Ulster Farmers’ Union had asked the Prime Minister to receive a deputation.

It was anticipated that the PM, having made a good recovery from illness, would be in a position to meet the deputation the following week.

It was reported that the deputation would be made up of Messrs John Ritchie (president of the union), John Gray, Dunadry (deputy president), George Thompson (Dundrod), R Gibson (Kircubbin), W R Morrow, JP (Knock), J A Gaston (Cullybackey), Charles Magee (Newry) and John Boyd (Antrim), the Rev R J McImoyle (Dervock), Mr David Wright, JP (secretary) and Mr H Jamieson (assistant secretary).

It was also noted by producers that at least part of the proposed scheme which the Ministry of Agriculture had prepared - namely, that of dealing with fixed prices and registration, would be introduced before or about January 1, 1934, when supplies were at their lowest, and the position was therefore more suitable than at any other time.

Concern at purchases of pigs at Dungannon

Pork curers this week in 1933 faced criticism from the members of the Dungannon Board of Guardians when Mr John Johnston proposed a resolution calling the government to hold an inquiry into the recent glut of pigs and suggesting that if any curers were held to have made an attempt to destroy the arrangement with the Pigs Marketing Board that their licences to buy and cure should be withdrawn.

It was noted that over 80 pigs has been bought in Dungannon and during the previous week over 500 pigs have been passed over the council’s weighbridge.

Large numbers of pigs have also been bought alive for 38s per cwt.

A consignment of 50 live pigs bought in the district had been despatched from Cookstown.

In the district the farmers were not satisfied about the absence of pork buyers, and favoured system whereby each district would have a weekly quota.

It was reported that farmers were of opinion that some markets were being cleared while others are not.

‘Start digging now,’ urges British MP

Mr Tom Williams, MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, this week in 1940, stressed the importance of food when he spoke at Cambridge at a regional conference of representatives from seven counties of local authorities and associations interested in food production.

He appealed to local authorities and allotment societies to start at once their “three packets of seed and a spade’’ campaign for 1940-41.

He said: “Don’t wait until we are within two or three weeks or two or three months of semi-starvation.’’