Before Section 4 to insert a new section as follows:—
(1) The Minister shall constitute a board of governors consisting of three persons to direct, manage and control the affairs of Johnstown Castle Agricultural College and the estate attached thereto.
(2) the members of the board shall be selected by the Minister as follows—
(a) one member representing the Minister for Agriculture and selected from the staff of his Department;
(b) one member who is not an employee of the Minister, and who holds a university degree in agricultural science; and
(c) one member representing the interests of practical agriculture who is a practical farmer whose livelihood is derived solely from farming.
There is very little in this Bill beyond the fact that the Minister and the House accepts the generous gift of the Lakin family. Under Section 3, the Minister constitutes a college, according to the request of the donors, and that section covers the whole constitution and control of the college. Beyond that, the only information we have is that the Minister proposes, as he stated on the Second Reading, to proceed in the way such colleges have been constituted and controlled in the past, by appointing a director responsible to himself and his Department for the administration of the college. I think that is not satisfactory and that the House should not rely on one man to direct and control the affairs of this college at Johnstown. There will be a research department attached and I feel the college ought to be controlled by a board of governors. The amendment provides for that.
If he is prepared to accept the idea, I am not tying the Minister to what is laid down in the amendment. I hope he will be convinced by the argument that the college should be controlled by a board and not by an individual and that the board should be representative of the different interests. Under this amendment, one member of the board would represent the Minister for Agriculture and be selected from the staff of the Department. Another member would have a degree in agricultural science and not be employed by the Minister; he would be a man who is in contact with other people interested in the welfare of agriculture; he would discuss modern ideas and new developments in agricultural science and bring his knowledge back to the board meetings, so that the new ideas may be implemented. Finally, there would be a member representing the practical side of agriculture, a practical farmer in contact with his fellow-farmers, a man who appreciates the difficulties of the practical farmer and the problems he has to face, and who would draw the attention of the research section of the college to problems that ought to be examined with a view to their solution, taking into consideration possibly the solutions that have been discovered in other countries relating to practical difficulties in agriculture and seeing how far they can be applied to this country.
I feel it is essential, if we are to ensure that this will be a useful institution, an effective institution, that it should be controlled by a board that fully realises its responsibilities. I think it is not wise to throw the full responsibility on one individual. The Minister may be lucky enough to select an exceptionally good man, who will be capable of carrying out the duties of this office. He may make a success of it but, on the other hand, he may not be successful and sometimes it is not so easy to get rid of a man who is not up to the 100 per cent. mark. It is unlikely that you will find a situation where three men are unsatisfactory, so that putting the responsibility on more than one is an advantage and drawing them from the different interests involved would be very advantageous. I hope the Minister will accept the amendment, or at least the principle behind it.