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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 29, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta Tutldoy, Fibrvory 1973 THf IETHBRIDCE HERALD _ Eva Breivster Another look at srae: its farming gARID, ISRAEL _ Israeli tarmcrs seldom complain. Yet, grumbling is common to farmers all over [lie world. T li e i r universal complaints range from the weather too wet, loo dry, too hot or too cold to simple economies and from the perennial need for bank loans with high interest rates to government interfer- ence or non-interference, as tho case mny be. There is a very simple ex- planation for this unique phe- nomenon, the contented Israeli farmer: for centuries, Jews, in most parts of the world, were not permitted to farm The very fact of such restrictions fanned the longing of each new genera- tion to return to the soil in which the people of fsrael were so deeply rooted in biblical times. Thus, when their dream came true, students and trad- ers, doctors and lawyers, bank- ers and artists turned into farm- ers and learned by trial and error (at the same lime, un- hindered by tradition) sharing wlial liltle knowledge they had as well as ail their resources. The oulcome of these early experiments is Ihe unique pat- tern of modern Israeli agricul- ture consisting mainly of col- leclive farms and co-operaliva villages. What probably helped mosl in the expansion of agriculture is Ihe facl that all land is nation- ally owned, making possible comprehensive, overall plan- ning and thus avoiding over- production and surplus of many products such as we, in tho Prairies, experienced recently with wheat. The Jewish National Fund and the state hold almost all land (nine-tenths of the total) in trust for the nation and let it on renewable 49-year leases, following principles laid down in the Bible. These principles take much of the hardship out of farming, both economically and socially. Not only did tho Jewish National Fund buy and prepare all land originally and lease it to the farming commu- nity, they also provide new farmers with the essential means and give them free vo- cational, economic and social training. Most villages in Israel are or- ganized in pioneering move- ments based on their individual method of settlement and their social and political orientation. These are affiliated to the His- ladrut (the General Workers' Union) which deals with econo- mic, social and educational problems and agricultural wages. Through these organiza- tions, the individual farmer has a powerful voice in over all planning. I have often looked with envy at Israel's agricultural policies when I see the small Prairie farmer struggle to keep his family farm going, trying to purchase and expand, for the sake of his growing chil- dren, just lo be outbid, every time a piece of laud became aval lablc, by the wealthier neighbor or the big corpora- lion. Or, if he is lucky enough lo secure a loan to buy tho land, have lo ail-but kill him- self to pay il off. Why, if gov- crnmcnls are serious in their pledges to halt Ihe exodus into cities and lo keep Ihe family farm alive, cannot the govern- mcnl buy up and lease more available land on principles similar to those applied suc- cessfully in Israel? The Hutteritcs in Canada have proved that communal farming can be profitable and, while 1 would not recommend their life style lo liic maiorily of farmers, co-opcralivc farm- ing methods of individually owned farms in Israel havo proved equally successful. While Ihere has been, in olher countries, an almost universal migration from the land inlo Ihe cilies, Israel's farm produc- lion has increased sixfold since the establishment of the slate in 1940 and so have agricul- tural exports. The number ol villages and rural populalion lias Iripled wilh, and in spite of, mechanization. The Israeli farmer, like his Canadian counterpart, is ad. vised by agricultural experts, well in advance, which of his crops (he seldom puts all his eggs in one basket and, gener- ally, goes in for mixed farming) is likely to be in lesser demand and whal new product could bo profitable during a n y given .season. For example: It was found lhal the European mar- ket in winter was wide open lo Ihe import of flowers and fruit. Following this advice, many collective and individual farms set aside areas for Ihe culliva- lion of such crops and havo now, for some years, flown flowers, including roses and gladioli and mnny types of fruit to Europe throughout the hard- est of European winters. Jaffa oranges and grapefruit have, of course, been world famous for a long time but newer crops ot fruit, ground- nuts, vegetables and flowers are coming up lo Ihe same high slandard in bolh local and ex- port markets. Colton, first sown in 1953, now supplies almost all domestic demands and so does sugar beet processed in local refineries. Beef cattle are fed, almost enlirely, on pasture as there is barely enough land available to grow grain fodder for dairy catlle. Yet, the average milk yield is among Ihe highest in the world. Beef callle supple- mented by poultry and, lately, more lamb and mutton, meet most of Ihe domeslic demand for meal. Ample fish is provided from fishing in Lhe Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Atlantic, the FROM SINGER STRETCH STITCH SEWING AT A LOW LOW PRICE! STRETCH FABRIC is Ihe must tvr ling Ihing to happen !o in years...and new, from Ihis priced dewing iine made I features make. o4 rasy as well ns fun lo use. Zigzag buttonholes, bullons, clastic, monocirnms wiih- oul special ntlnchmonls. Mrnd and rinm Ion! Ouiel vihralion liro rr.olrir Pos.lionL [or f Dobbin Winder SINGER Whal's nf.wjbr tomorrow li