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Bare Fallowing

Volume 439: debated on Monday 30 June 1947

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, whether he will take the necessary steps to ensure the proper cleaning of all fields uncropped or bare through crop failures this year; and whether in 1948 he will prohibit bare fallowing of land without special permission of the A.E.C.s.

Any farmer who has been unable to crop his land this year, or whose crops have failed owing to the disastrous weather of the past winter, is likely, in his own interest, to take all practicable steps to clean the land by fallowing this summer, so as to get maximum yields next season as a partial recoupment of his losses. It is also part of the normal functions of county agricultural executive committees and of the National Agricultural Advisory Service to give guidance to farmers about the proper cleaning of their land. As regards the second part of the Question, I have already announced that farmers will have freedom of cropping in 1948, and it would be inconsistent with this announcement to prohibit the bare fallowing of land without the special permission of county committees.

In view of the urgent need for more food, is it not very desirable that every acre of land should be cropped next year and that no land should be left lying fallow?

I sincerely hope that the maximum acreage of land will be cropped next year. When Clause 11 of the new Agriculture Bill is brought into operation, the county executive committees will have power to insist that land available for food production shall be so used.

Will the farmer whose land has been completely flooded as a result of the disasters this year, be able to get any financial assistance, and if so, from where?

I imagine that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman is referring to the administration of the Agricultural Disaster Fund, over which I have no control.

I was referring to questions which I asked last week, to which I got no answer.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that farmers on the last Fen to be flooded have been told by the Agricultural Committee not to crop this year, and will he bear in mind that some of the smaller men will find it extremely difficult to carry on.

I expect the county agricultural executive committees will exercise their authority in a wise sort of way.