April 11, 1902 (9th Parliament, 2nd Session)

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The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE (Hon. Sydney Fisher).

I suppose it will be proper for me to give an explanation in brief form of tbe considerable items of increase which are here. Tbe Item as you will see is considerably increased over the corresponding item last year, which was $188,600. I may say* that while there is some increase in a number of the branches of this department, the chief increase here is due to an undertaking which we have decided upon on behalf of the cheese industry in Canada. Last season's cheese trade was not quite so satisfactory as the cheese trade of Canada has been for many years past and the causes of this have become quite apparent not only to the Department of Agriculture but to those who are engaged in the trade. It appears evident that the demand in England has been for a slightly different character of cheese from that which Canada has been supplying in the past and that to meet that demand our people have been endeavouring to make a softer and moister cheese, sending it forward under the old conditions. These old conditions were quite satisfactory for the harder and dryer cheese which Canada has been supplying in such large quantities for many years, but are not suitable for the character of tbe cheese now demanded by the English market and which our people have been trying to send forward. That quality of cheese requires that it should be cured and handled in a cooler temperature. A great deal of tbe injury that has been done during tbe last season or two has been done in the curing rooms of the factories. It is well known that these curing rooms are not very thoroughly constructed as a general rule and that tbe heat is not under control, especially in the hot weather of summer. A series of experiments has been carried on for some years back by my department. Another series has been carried on by tbe Guelph Agricultural College and still another series with most important results in the state of New York. The results of these experi-

ments have all tended in one direction, [DOT]wonderfully coinciding one with the other, and proving conclusively that this moister and softer cheese which is to-day in demand in the English market must be kept at a temperature below 65 degrees if it is to be successfully made and handled. The question came up : How will you bring about a change of methods to accomplish this object ? My department has been for two years inculcating the necessity for this change, pointing out the results of the experiments that have been made and urging people in every way possible, by addresses at public meetings and by bulletins and reports, to improve their curing rooms so that they might be able to cure their cheese under the new conditions properly. I think, largely due to the fact that the year before last the general price of the article was pretty good notwithstanding the difficulties. the people have disregarded these warnings. During the last season, however. they got a rather severe castigation, if X may call it that, in the English market. We had report after report showing that Canadian cheese was not doing as well as it had been doing in the past, that it was arriving very deficient in the proper quality and that the price of our cheese was not as good in proportion to the price of other cheese in the English market as it had been in the past. The result was the farmers and cheese makers of Canada lost in the last season somewhere about $2,000,000 on the quality of their cheese alone. I venture to think that if the advice of the Department of Agriculture, which was given to them two years ago, had been followed that money would have been saved. No doubt a portion of it would have had to have been spent in the improvements which were required, but still, a very large amount would have been left in the pockets of the people more than they received. In investigating this question the proposition has been made that as it was pretty difficult for the people to improve their curing rooms all over the country in every individual factory, central curing rooms should be established to which the cheese of a group of factories would be brought, thus carrying out the principle of co-operative dairying a little step farther than it has been carried in the past. Just as in days gone by the milk which used to be made into cheese in the home dairy has been carried to the central factory for the purpose of making it into cheese, so, the cheese, after being made, will be carried to a centra] curing room to be cured. It is felt that some other improvements in connection with the business might be also tried and shown and that the result would be, not only on the point I have just elaborated, beneficial, but on several other points, also, improvements in the trade would be brought about. These propositions were laid before the great dairy conventions of the country during last fall and winter and
were approved by these dairy conventions. The question was : How could this change be brought about ? It means generally through the country a very considerable investment in what up to the present time is an experiment-an experiment which has borne the test of careful Analysis and investigation on the part of experts, and having been laid before those engaged in the business, has met with their approval, but still, is a thing which has never been tried anywhere else or in Canada either. We have been in the habit, in my department, of doing work of an experimental character for the benefit of the people concerned, but which no individual would be willing to undertake, and which no individual, or group of individuals, could fairly be called upon to undertake. The risk, in other words, of the results of an experiment of this kind should be undertaken by the government and paid for out of public funds rather than by individuals. I, therefore, propose to establish four such curing rooms, one in the western part of Ontario, one in the eastern part of Ontario, one in the French-speaking part of the province of Quebec and one in the English-speaking part of the province of Quebec. Some exception has been taken to the fact that only four of these curing rooms are going to be carried on. Being of an experimental character I think it is desirable that enough should be done to show that if this experiment is successful it can be fairly held to be true under different conditions and under different circumstances, while at the same time, 1 think it is wise in an experiment of this kind not to build any more than is absolutely necessary to prove the results. The conditions in the particular localities that are indicated are sufficiently diverse to be fairly representative of the conditions in Canada, and the scale on which it is proposed to carry on these experiments will be sufficiently great, I think, that if it is successful in
these places it will be held to be successful almost anywhere in Canada. At the same time I feel that the investment of public money in this way is warranted by the magnitude of the interests involved. I need not dwell on the importance of our cheese industry. We know that in some years as much as $20,000,000 worth of cheese has been exported from Canada, and that has been of great value not only to the farmers but to the industrial development of the industries of Canada generally. It is the one industry in which Canada has maintained a pre-eminence, and anything that tends to make this industry a continued success is worthy of attention. In doing this work we will require a capital investment of about $8,000 or $10,000 for each of these curing rooms, and we will require money for maintenance during the current year, which for the four curing rooms will amount in all to $35,000 or $30,000. I trust that the maintenance will not

be a serious drain upon tlie department. Our experiments show that the cheese cured in the cool temperature which we propose to provide will not only be of better quality and consequently bring a higher price, but there will also be very materially less shrinkage in the curing process. While we have not absolutely decided upon all the details, our proposition is that the owners of the cheese will reap all the advantage of the increased price per pound, but that the gain made by the less shrinkage shall go to.the maintenance of the curing room. I think that will pay for all the expenses of the curing room in a commercial sense. But we expect to make some other experiments and to do some other work for the benefit of the cheese trade, and I do not think that the expense of this will lie covered by the sum I have mentioned. In this estimate we are providing for not only the capital expenditure in building the curing rooms, but also for a sum to help in the management of them for rne current year. This involves altogether nearly $40,000, or a very considerable amount more than the increase which is to be noticed in this item.
In other ways the expenditure will be largely on the same lines as in the past. There will be some increases and some slight decreases. The general lines of the work are briefly these. We have the headquarters staff and expenses at Ottawa; we have the extension of markets division ; the cold storage division ; the live , stock commissioners' division; the dairy division and the fruit division; all under the general direction of Professor Robertson, the commissioner of dairying and agriculture.

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