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Fraser's Scottish Annual
The Ontario Farm


BY HEW CROMARTIE, MILTON

ONTARIO, with its wide, fertile plains, its well-watered, well-sheltered stretches, is eminently an agricultural country. In this province the substantial tenant-farmer from the Old Land has found a most desirable field for the investment of his means, and the skilled farm-worker, in a land, in which by energy and industry, a comfortable home could be carved out with comparative ease. The Government of the province has ever looked upon the farmer with kindly eyes, and what has been done, and is being done, for the advancement of his interests deserves brief recital in these pages.

Ontario contains an area of 128,000,000 acres, lying between the latitudes which would be formed in Europe at a point between Cambridge and London, for a northern, and between Rome and Naples for a southern boundary. Of this area 22,000,000 have been settled, the remainder, including mineral and forest lands, and many large districts suitable for farming in all its branches, is open still to the pioneer; on terms that are entirely reasonable. Settlement in these unappropriated lands is governed by the "Free Grants and Homestead's" Act, under which a settler, if a single man, obtains 100 acres free, and if the head of a family 200 acres free, the settlement duties being five years' residence, the clearing and cultivating of at least fifteen acres, and the erection of a habitable home, which conditions having been fulfilled the title to the holding issues. Lands more favorably suitable in these districts are sold for fifty cents per acre, and lighter settlement duties. The climate differs but slightly from that of the fully settled southern portion of the province. The winters are invigorating and pleasant, the atmosphere being light and dry, and the temperature quite pleasant; the summers are warm, bright and sunny, conducive to the cultivaton and growth of all ordinary farm products and fruits to a perfect maturity.

The Government of the Province gives every encouragement to settlers. The easy terms of settlement referred to are but a small portion of what is done to render the lot of pioneer farmers not only comfortable but desirable. Settlement is preceded by the construction of roads and bridges, forming means of communication with the village markets, the railways and the lake waterways, which are numerous. Assistance is given by the disemination of reliable information on practical questions of living, and a friendly attitude and good relations are maintained in connection with settlement and development intercourse and transactions.

The great development of agriculture, however, has been in the southern counties of the Province, where farming has reached a high standard, where agriculture is a science, and where the remarkable evolution of husbandry has been unsurpassed on the American continent.

The lot of the average Ontario farmer is an enviable one. The average fertility of his soil is high his markets are convenient and live; his labors have been lightened to a reasonable degree by the application of improved farm machinery; while railways and steamers have given him quick entry to the great markets of the world. He has the advantage of scientific instruction unequalled anywhere—schools
and colleges, institutes and conventions, designed and conducted at the public expense by an enlightened administration, solely for his benefit, so that soil cultivation, dairying, stock-raising, fruit-growing, poultry-raising, experimental and scientific farming in all its numerous lines have been made familiar to him in their latest phases. The provision thus made on his behalf is the most remarkable thing
that strikes a stranger's attention and admiration.

Taking a brief glance at what has been done during the last ten years it will be seen that no opportunity has been lost in furthering the interest of this numerous class of Ontario's population, and the success attending the practical measures adopted to that end is a proof of the wisdom of having a man of practical experience at the head of the Department of Agriculture. The Department administers, among other things, affairs connected with the Agricultural and Horticultural Societies, which are numerous throughout the Province it exercises an oversight on such associations as the Dairymen's, the Fruit-growers, the Butter and Cheese Associations, time Entomological Society, Sheep Breeders' Association, Swine Breeders' Association, Cattle, Poultry, Horse breeder's and Beekeeper's Association and the Agricultural and Experimental Union, to all of which large sums of money are appropriated by the Ontario Government. Then there are Fruit Experiment stations, the system of Farmers' Institutes, at which lectures are given by approved experts to farmers assembled in their own localities for such instruction and practical demonstrations as may be required to impart the latest information. The Good Roads department, the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph, the Pioneer Farm (Experimental) in the north, dairy schools, the collection of municipal and agricultural statistics— these and other interests are grouped within the jurisdiction and administration of the Ministry of Agriculture, the portfolio for which has been held since 1890 by the Hon. John Dryden, and successful large farmer of many years standing, and to whose progressive policy many of the best departures of late years are due. During his regime the department has devoted much attention to the distribution among farmers of "bulletin" literature, with the very latest results obtained by the best experimenters in the world. The experiments carried on in the Department itself, under its direct auspices, are of the most thorough and scientific nature, and the results are tabulated and printed on "bulletins," which have become as familiar at the farmers' home as the local newspaper; but in addition to its own investigation, those of other countries are obtained and included in this most useful literature. The experiments relate to every detail in the whole range of the farmer's varied vocation. The nature of soils, with special reference to treatment, bearing qualities, suitability for cereals, roots, fruit and stock, is exhaustively and constantly worked upon; experiments in feeding for dairy and beef purposes, with a study of the needs of the British markets, are conducted, experiments in breeding; the testing of breeds; the best methods of cheese and butter making; fruit culture; experiments in the relations of soils, fruit and trees, and the yield and quality of fruit; in the preserving of orchard stock from the ravages of insect pests; in the culture of honey, and many other interests in which Ontario farmers find profitable scope for their energies, from the contents of the vast output of printed matter provided for their benefit by the Department of Agriculture.

Statistics speak. In 1890, 22,300 reports of the various agricultural organizations were circulated free; in 1898, the number was 133,000, while the number of bulletins above referred to, reached the enormous circulation of 310,000 copies in the later year.

But while the value of this literature has been great, it has been supplemented by what is better still, by practical experiments brought before the farmer's own eyes. And in this respect more solid instruction is placed within reach of the Ontario farmer than is done in any other state or country by any Government. Taking the dairy industry as all. In 1891 Mr. Dryden organized and sent out travelling delegations, which travelled the length and breadth of the Province, imparting instruction so as to improve the quality of home-made butter. In four years this work produced wonderful results, and with better quality came better prices for butter, and a most noticeable growth of the butter industry. One gratifying feature has been the willingness on part of the farmers to learn the readiness with which new methods and improved machinery are taken advantage of so as to he up-to-date in all things. Encouraged by the success of the travelling dairy, schools of instruction in butter and cheese-making were established at Guelph, where is located the famous Agricultural College of Ontario, which attracts students from all climes - at Kingston, later on, and more recently at Strathroy. The students attending these three schools are drawn from the farm, and are there for practical business purposes. They learn how to make butter and cheese, and when the course has been taken they form the backbone of the skilled butter and cheese-makers in the Province, whose exact knowledge places the product of the dairy in the best possible form on markets of the United States or Great Britain. In five winters from 1893, about 610 such students have attended the schools at Strathroy and Kingston, and the latter school being very conveniently situated receives nearly 10,000 pounds of milk daily, which is manufactured into excellent butter and cheese. The enlightenment and liberality of policy shown in such work is surely the best encouragement that can be offered the intending settler from Europe, or the farmer born on the soil, to build up a permanent home where such advantages are provided. The Dairy Associations have been fostered by the Department and liberally supported, and the result stated in figures shows not only the increasing volume of business, but the importance to a country of Government support and supervision of home industries. In 1891 the output of the cheese factories was 82,000,000 lbs. in 1895 the output increased to more than 105,000,000 lbs., and in 1897 to more than 137,000,000 lbs., on the same area of farming lands. The Ontario creameries show a similarly good record. From 74 in 1893, and 135 in 1895, the number has grown to 214 in 1897, and is still growing, with a manufactured output of more than 3,000,000 lbs. of high grade butter. Thus, by judicious, business-like administration, the Ontario dairy industry boasts an ever-increasing export trade, the highest prices for its cheese in the Canadian and British markets, and profitable business in these markets for its butter.

Every Ontario farmer is interested in fruit-growing, for which the climate is exceptionally favorable. The Canadian apple is first in the home market, the other orchard fruits—the pear, the peach, the plum and the grape, form an important industry, in which the general farmer largely shares. No farm need-be without its well-cultivated orchard, and few are and in this line, as in dairying, the Department of Agriculture exercises a wise influence, guiding and leading in obtaining the best results, with the sole object of placing the means within the farmer's reach, whereby he can call to the best account his great opportunities, and the rich natural resources by which he is surrounded. Not only is literature on culture distributed, but instruction has been given in the proper methods of spraying the trees so as to destroy injurious insects. Delegations travel yearly, taking about thirty orchards every season, at points convenient to the farmer and fruit-grower, so that they may be present to learn how to do the work for themselves. There are twelve experimental fruit farms in the Province, where the latest discoveries of science are practically applied as object lessons to the communities, and in this, as in other ways, the farmer is greatly aided.

In every farming country live stock is a staple and prime essential. In Ontario mixed farming is characteristic, and great forward strides have been taken in the breeding of cattle, sheep, horses, and hogs. These industries have had the advantage of Government care and help on a liberal scale. The breeders' associations, with their stock and pedigree books, have reached a position of recognized importance the world over, and their influence has always been for the advancement of pure bred, high class stock. In eight years the growth of the live stock industry has been remarkable, as the Liverpool markets know, and it has been brought about chiefly by intelligent co-operation under the guidance of Mr. Dryden, whose efforts have been personal and unceasing in this direction. Cheap transportation on railways has been secured for pure bred stock, and every encouragement given by which breeds could be improved in quality. Attention has been also given to the feeding of sheep, cattle, and hogs, with the best results, as may be testified to by the development of the pork-packing industry and the increased exports of fine beeves.

The system of Farmers' Institutes deserves a word. The Institute began in an humble way. In 1891 the professors of the Ontario Agricultural College spent their January vacation in visiting farming districts, and lecturing to the farmers. That year 75 meetings were held, attended by a membership of about 2,500 farmers. The importance of the work became evident, and a Superintendent of Institutes having been appointed, the system was organized. Now there is a membership of more than 16,000 farmers. About 700 meetings are held annually, at which about 3,600 addresses are delivered to more than 126,000 persons. The "Institute" is a travelling farmers' college, and is a feature of farming in Ontario, which has worked out its ends to the profit and satisfaction of all concerned.

In 1894.Mr. Dryden established a farm in the then unoccupied laud at Lake Wabingoon. Settlers gathered around it, and at least 30,000 acres of valuable farm lands have been settled. The farm is known as Pioneer Farm, the object being to help the new settlers in that region, and as a successful experiment claims the attention of the agriculturist. The Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph is one of the best equipped in any land, and sends its graduates out to the colleges or farms of the world with the highest credentials obtainable by skilled agriculturists. The improvement of public roads has gone on several years, under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture, to the convenience and advantage of the farmer, and money is judiciously expended in this respect in various parts of time Province.

From this necessarily brief sketch it can be seen that the Ontario farmer is well cared for by the Government of the day; that his interests receive the special attention of the Provincial Legislature, and that with such liberal treatment as has been referred to, and soil and climate surpassed nowhere on the American continent, his prospects of making a comfortable living and accumulating wealth, by enterprise and industry are exceedingly promising.


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