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A Living from the Land - Quorn Ex-serviceman's experience 1925

Loughborough Monitor and Herald - 24th September 1925

Whether a smallholder can wrest a living from the land is dependent on many conditions - on the man first of all, on the nature of his holding, its extent, and the use to which it is put, and finally on his skill and industry in management.

In Quorn there are several quite large small holdings under the County Council, and Mr S Bailey, of Barrow Road, has been successful in winning the first prize in the competition for holding under 25 acres. The results were published first of all in this journal last week.

In conversation with our agricultural correspondent, Mr Bailey said he took over the tenancy of just over five acres of land, previously worked as a market garden in June, 1923. He was a hosiery hand before joining the army for service during the war, and when demobilised in 1919 went into partnership with his father-in-law, Mr Teagle, from whom he has learnt all his knowledge of his new trade. The partners have other land, and so Mr Bailey applied as an ex-service man for land, and was able to rent his present plot, which had been given up by the previous tenant. He took possession on June 23rd, and the fact that he raised a crop from all the land except a rood which was too badly twitched, is significant evidence of his quality.

Our correspondent inspected the five acres and noted its cleanly appearance and the well worked soil, which is on the light side. A full complement of appliances - plough, harrows, ridgers, drills, &c is used and a horse kept, the animal also drawing the dray on the retail rounds, for the produce is sold direct to customers.

Questioned as to whether he considers a living could be got from such a holding, Mr Bailey thought the acreage was too small. It would be too much for one man alone, and yet could not produce enough to pay for hired labour and a horse. A man and a strong youth, however, could work such a holding, but to give satisfactory results there should be at least ten acres. As it is with the help of the other land, the partners, who hire a man, can manage comfortably.

"But the land must be worked well, well-manured and cultivated, and the right seeds and right crops chosen; above all the smallholder must be prepared to work hard." These were Mr Bailey's conclusions, and he added:

"Retailing also makes a great difference; we grow for our own customers and try to suit them. One must find the right market, and the most profitable one - this is essentially as important as the management of the land".

Brought down to fundamentals one may assert that to be successful on the land there must be practical skill and knowledge, and an adaptive nature. Mr Bailey has in Mr Teagle one who has a life long experience - then there must be business capacity in finding your market, and, added to all, industry. All these qualities are, of course, needed to be successful in any business of its kind.

The outside advantages are that the smallholder is his own master, while the open-air life and freedom with health and content, assets which ensure, are not measurable in terms of money.

The photograph shows Mr W Bailey of Quorn, who has been awarded the first prize for his little farm by the County Council Smallholdings Committee.

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 Submitted on: 2010-02-26
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 757
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own.

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