asked the Minister of Agriculture if he has consulted the agricultural executive committees of the counties which have considerable acreages of marginal land; and when he will make known proposals to assist farmers to reclaim such land for full food production.
Close touch is maintained between myself and the county agricultural executive committees, including those to which the hon. Member refers. The efficient use of all agricultural land is a responsibility of my Department which receives unremitting attention, and a variety of expedients have been adopted to increase the output from marginal lands.
Bearing in mind what was said from both sides of the Committee during the meat Debate last week, will the Minister press on with reclaiming marginal land for food production, and let us have some news immediately after Easter of what he intends to do?
As the hon. Member is aware, we already have important schemes, in the hill farming scheme, the hill sheep and hill cattle subsidy schemes, the marginal production scheme which was announced a few weeks ago, the goods and services scheme and various other schemes, all leading to the same results.
Is the Minister really content with the progress in dealing with marginal land?
I am never content, but we are getting the best out of everything.
Can my right hon. Friend tell us how many acres are covered by the schemes now operating?
That would be impossible.