The milk supply of our country, in one form or another, has been the subject of discussion year after year at Congress meetings. Its importance is an admitted fact, but, notwithstanding, I again venture to call attention to the matter. On this occasion, however, I do not propose to touch much of the ground already covered by former papers, but to consider the results of experiments and observations made while dealing with milk supply under the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts. For many years dairy regulations have been in force throughout the country which deal with the construction of floors and walls, and with lighting and ventilation. The owners of dairy farms in many parts of Scotland have spent large sums of money in improving their farms. Indeed, some enthusiasts have gone the length of introducing a system of heating and mechanical means of ventilation. It is only reasonable to pause and consider the practical results of these improvements, and to discover who are reaping the benefits from a milk supply standpoint. Do the owners of dairy farms receive anything like a fair return for their capital outlay? No. It is a well‐known fact that rents are on the down grade. Is the farmer of to‐day in a better financial position than formerly? No. He will tell you that the working of a “modern dairy” is more expensive than in the old steading, and that there is less flow of milk from the cows in the large airy byre than in the small old “biggin.” The price of milk is considerably less than it was fifteen or twenty years ago. At that time it ranged from 10d. to 1s. per gallon, and it is well known to you that hundreds of gallons of milk are now sent into our large cities for at least a distance of 100 miles, carriage paid, at 7½d. per gallon. In some cases the price is 9d. per gallon during the winter and 7½d. in summer. A farmer I know has a contract with a dairyman to supply him with 20 gallons of sweet milk, 16 gallons of skim milk, and 4 gallons of cream every day at an average rate of 7½d. per gallon all the year round. I have proved, by having test samples taken of the sweet milk, that it contains an average fat of 4.89 per cent. in 16 gallons. Neither the owner nor occupier of the farm can be any better off so long as such small prices prevail. Does the profit then come to the consumer? It does not.
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