asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will ascertain through his Department's war agricultural committees how many farmers' co-operative societies have been established in England and Wales with the object, inter alia, of securing a pooled supply of farm machinery; and how many similar associations of farmers for a like purpose.
There are rather over 300 farmers' co-operative societies registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts. The number which have among their objects the operating or letting on hire of agricultural machinery, and the number of unregistered associations of farmers for a like purpose, is not known either to the Department or to county agricultural executive committees, but it is not thought to be large.
Does my hon. Friend consider that this attempt on the part of the farmers in self help is to be encouraged?
Certainly, and a great deal has been done to help them.