I will tell you how they feed pigs in Canada, and it will keep you from eating American bacon. One of my neighbours last year went over to Canada to see what possibilities there were there. He spent a year working on a farm there and reported back. He said: "We cannot compete with American bacon. I will tell you what they feed the pigs on and what happens there. There is a large stockyard in which the cattle are fed with Indian corn. The corn which the cattle fail to digest is deposited as dung, and is the feeding for Canadian pigs." We hear a lot about sweated industry. Do you think it is possible for us in this country to pay taxes, annuities and to support a trade which has to meet competition of that sort? I say it is an impossibility. It is not right that we should be asked to pay our people and to feed them on good sound food while at the same time we are faced with an article brought in at 60/- and sold at a profit of forty shillings. The pigs are fed on dung. That is a fact, and the reason why it is pressed so much is that there is such a profit on it. I have shown you that there is no danger of a rise in the cost of living. We hear everybody talking about the dead meat trade. The Minister is enthusiastic about it. He says the dead meat trade is open to us and that we have factories. We are exporting 1,200,000 live pigs. Why do we not kill them here? We are only half the country, because the North exports their pigs as pork. We are the only persons sending away live pigs, and if you do as I tell you, you will have a potential bacon factory in every city. You will not have American bacon in the shops. An enterprising grocer will go to the nearest cottier, will buy a pig and sell it over his counter and will not go to the factories. You will have bacon at a cheaper price. You will be doing no injustice to the poor. You will be helping farmers to gain a trade amounting to over £2,000,000 per annum. I think that is a reasonable proposition. It is a reasonable proposition to put before a Sinn Fein Executive, and I hope it will sink deeply and that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture will not be allowed to wipe it off the slate.
I advocated a tariff on oats, and the Minister for Lands and Agriculture had an answer for that. He pretended to see a difference between oats and oatmeal. As a matter of fact, he was not right in that. The Minister says that two-thirds of that is seed. The fact is that there is imported £102,000 worth of Canadian oats alone, not to speak of oats from the North of Ireland. The amount of oats imported is somewhere in the region of 700,000 barrels per annum. Think of what that means! There are £358,000 worth of oat products, and £150,000 worth of ordinary oats—something about half-a-million pounds worth of oats. Worked out at 14s. a barrel, that means that the importation amounts to 700,000 barrels. That would be the product of 70,000 acres, or an area of over 1,100 square miles. Here is an item that will not raise the cost of living. Our oatmeal is as good as the Canadian product. Our oats, are as good as the Canadian oats, and why a farmer in this country, who has a surplus of oats in the spring, should be forced to meet competition from Canada, passes my understanding. Oats is one of the cereals that can be grown successfully in this country. It can be grown on the hill or in the valley, on the mountainside or in the vale. It can be grown on good land or on poor land. It is a hardy cereal, and grows in all kinds of climate. We can produce as good oats here as anywhere else, or, perhaps, better, because we have a greater yield. There are possibilities in this connection which ought to be considered very seriously. It cannot raise the cost of living. It will stabilise the price of oats, and induce the people to grow more oats. This is the crop on which the farmer is enabled to pay his rent and annuity and taxes. This is a proposition that ought to receive favourable consideration from the Government. As I have pointed out, it cannot raise the cost of living, and nobody can object to it on those grounds. Therefore, I urged that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture should not divide this item into two parts—grain and oatmeal. When he was beaten, he said: "If you want a tariff, I will give you a tariff on oatmeal." That is the position with regard to oats.
I asked for a tariff on butter. Butter imports amount to £739,000 per year. Some of that comes in in the summer. The Minister said it all comes in the winter. Is it possible to provide £125,000 worth of butter each month for the four months of winter? That is what the question amounts to. Nobody need tell me that that cannot be done. Our people are living on the finest land in the world. Because it is so good, they have not to work. They have only a seasonable production of milk. The cows calve in the spring. There is a flush of milk in the summer, when the grass is there. When the grass is finished, there is no milk. We farm on the system employed in the days of Methuselah and holy Job. There is nothing wrong in that. It is exactly the system I saw in operation in wild country elsewhere. I do not think that that is a system that ought to be perpetuated, when we are taking on schemes like the Shannon scheme. If we are going to develop this country, we ought to develop this industry. It can be done, as I will show presently. A farmer who farms on that system has, willy-nilly, to give his cows hay. His cows come out in the spring thin. If he would give those cows, in addition to the wisp of hay, 4 lbs. of oats and a half cwt. of roots every day during the winter, at a cost of 9d., one-third of those cows, calving in November, and fed as I have described, would give two gallons of milk per day all through the winter. The cows would be stronger in the spring, and they would give the same amount of milk in the summer. The difference between the 9d. which he would expend on feeding and the 1s. 10d. which he would get for his milk, would represent the profit to him. I know that there have been investigations made in connection with winter dairying. I know that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture has gone into the subject. But I want to approach the question from the position in which the work is being done at present. I want to show the results that would accrue from a change of system. If you calve one-third of your cows in November and expend 9d. per day in the feeding of each of them, as I have described, you will get in the winter two gallons of milk per day from them, which you can sell at 1s. 10d. 1s. 10d., less 9d., leaves 1s. 1d. That is the profit to the farmer, and that is good profit, as I will prove. Everybody who has ever fattened cattle knows that if you do not feed cattle at an expense of 1s. 6d. per head per day you are going to lose. That is the maximum of expenditure. If you spend more than that, you lose, too. It will take three months to complete the fattening. 1s. 6d. a day for a week is 10s. 6d. Thirteen weeks at 10s. 6d. is, roughly, £7. The man who fattens cattle has got to get back £7 before he can make 1s. profit. If he got 1s. per day as I have offered the dairyman, he would have to get £11 11s. 0d. profit, and very few men engaged in fattening cattle for export are getting £11 11s. 0d. If Deputy Leonard is here, I am sure he will not contradict me in regard to that assertion. Eleven guineas to a man who ties up a beast in November is a profit any man would be glad to take. He is taking less at present. And yet I have shown you that the dairy farmer could gain more. There would, too, be an absolutely certain winter supply of milk, and there would be the usual summer supply. Even if there was a small shortage in summer, it would be only at a 6d. rate, and would not amount to anything. What would be the advantage? We have our customers got up to October. Then we drop our supply of butter. We let in the Dane on a depreciated currency. We have to fight him in the spring, when we have to start again, and we have to lose money in order to get into the market. There is a potential gain to the farmer and an absolute gain to the co-operative society in the methods I have advocated. If the farmer continued his supply in the winter, this loss—which is a national loss of very serious dimensions—would be in the nature of added profit to the farmer or to the co-operative society. I hope I have convinced the Dáil that that is sound economics.
The Minister for Lands and Agriculture says that there is nobody in the Dáil wants a tariff on butter except Deputy Wilson. I hope I have changed his mind. When I asked for a tariff I was laughed at. I suggested 2/- as the amount. I did not look on that as a tariff; I looked on it as an embargo. I did not want a tariff; what I wanted was an embargo. I wanted to keep the foreign butter out. If you are afraid of an embargo in the case of butter, or if you are afraid that it will raise the cost, you can do as the French Government does in the case of other foodstuffs, take power to have the embargo raised when prices reach a certain standard. Power could be taken to do that by Order in Council. That is what happened last year in France in respect of another article of food. That would be a means of inducing people to winter-feed their cows. The Minister for Lands and Agriculture is settling thousands of people on the land. He is going to put the people back on holdings. If these people had an assured market for their milk or butter products in the winter, they would turn to that industry and not be wasting their time growing small cattle and sending them to the grazier to fatten. That is how you could bring about increased production in the agricultural industry. Then we have the Shannon scheme. The farmers' daughters, instead of having to work, will just have to switch on the electric current and the milk will be separated. Then they will turn another switch and the milk will be churned. Another switch will be operated and the butter worker will not have to injure her poor, dainty hands. The daughter of the farmer will not then be running off to sell gowns or aprons in the shops. She will stay at home under the new conditions and she will be provided with suitable and remunerative employment. I contend that the method I have suggested is the proper method. It will stimulate production and make the country what we desire. We do not want to see this country devoted to the growing of grass. Go up to the hills in the country and see the remains of the ridges that were there when this was an intensively cultivated country. What was the cause of the change? Was it not the free trade policy pursued by England? What qualms of conscience can the Deputies on these benches have to change with the circumstances? They have the power and why not use it in the direction of putting more people on the land? Why not use it in the direction of giving more employment and stimulating industry on the land?
The question of barley is on another footing. There has been more demand for a tariff in respect of barley than in respect of any other product of the soil that I know. I never stood for a tariff on barley, because barley is the raw material of another industry. My reasons for opposing a tariff on barley are simply and solely the reasons which the Minister for Finance gave for refusing to put a tariff on piece goods. He said that they were raw material for the tailors. Barley is the raw material of another industry. The Minister for Lands went further; he said, why not supply pig-feeding districts with barley; why not crush the barley into meal and send it into those districts? Lack of organisation was, he said, the cause; the farmers are no use. If the people who grow barley demand the price for barley which the maltster pays, then barley as a pig food is outside the question. A price of 13/6 a cwt. for barley will not compare with the price at which maize can be purchased. Unless the growers of barley are prepared to supply barley for pig feeding at 10/- a cwt., then barley as a pig food is impossible. When the Minister for Lands and Agriculture talks about lack of organisation among farmers, I would remind him that in the great milling centres of America, around the Missouri Valley—St. Louis, for example, where there is a great milling industry—the situation is that if they run short of wheat they do not get it from California. They pay the tariff and take it over the border from Canada. At the time they are doing that, Dublin millers are buying Californian wheat. It is not a question of lack of organisation. The transit charges in this country are abnormal. Transit charges for agricultural products here are the obstacle and, therefore, the demand of the barley growers for malting prices for feeding-barley and the question of the railway charges are the causes which have placed the feeding of pigs by barley in this country out of the question.
These are the only arguments I put forward. I leave it to the Dáil to say whether I have not made a fair case and put forward a fair demand. I am very sorry the Minister for Lands and Agriculture is not here. I would like to have had his contradictions, so that I could get out some more information on this subject. He would put forward objections, and I would have the opportunity and the gratification of countering them by giving him more information on these particular matters.
The question of a tariff on bacon is a serious question. It is a question that the Minister ought very seriously to consider. If it is not possible this year, I would urge that the Minister for Finance ought to see a way of dealing with the matter next year. It is wrong that we should be feeding our people with products raised in the way I have shown. It is wrong that we should permit people to give us food when we can do it ourselves. It is wrong to ship live pigs from this country when we could have a trade here that would make our agricultural industry successful. It is wrong to allow free trade to depopulate our country. We should take away this free trade idea, for the free trade idea is only entertained by the grazier. The grazier is a free trader because he has the internal consumption of this country at his feet and he thinks that if there was protection it would raise his costs. He is in open competition in the English market at present, but he is getting beaten out of the English market just now. Canadian cattle are, unfortunately, fetching better prices in the English market than Irish cattle. The way I have outlined is the way to keep the people on the land, and if it is not the way, I would like if the Minister for Lands and Agriculture would show me a better way.