OCTOBER 7, 1914
To the Farmers of Nova Scotia
The war now raging is certain to cause a heavy decrease in the production of food stuffs in Europe during 1915. All the able bodied men of France, Germany, Austria and Russia are engaged in fighting. The principal grain fields of Central Europe are being destroyed by marching armies. Little of this year's harvest will be saved and practically no preparation can be made for next season's crop. The grain fields of Europe in the hands of women workers will yield only a small percentage of the grain required for European consumption. The same condition applies to all other farm products employed to sustain life in man and beast. Whether this war will prove to be of short or long duration it is certain there will be a very serious decrease in the supply of food and fodder in Europe for a long time to come. It is stated that of the 650,000,000 quarters of wheat yearly produced in the world 350,000,000 are grown in the countries now at war.
No man occupies a more important place in the present crisis than the farmer. The food supplies available will probably enter into the final success more than any other condition. The farmer, therefore, who means to produce all the food supplies that he can on the farm during the next year is just as useful a patriot as the farmer who shoulders his gun and goes to war.
You should devote this autumn to the task of preparing your arms for the very largest crop that it is possible to raise. In so doing you can be of inestimable assistance to the Motherland while developing the agricultural resources of this Province and materially adding to your own incomes. Nova Scotia, owing to its comparative nearness to Europe, is a natural base of supply for the products that will be most sorely needed. Agricultural experts who have looked over this province have always been impressed with the great possibility for increased food production on our farms. There are hundreds of acres of land that have been either down to hay for a great many years or have been in pasture, that can be plowed up, sown to oats, wheat or barley and seeded down to clover and timothy to the benefit of the farmer even in times of peace. But now that the present crisis demands that every effort should be made to increase the food supply, I would urge you to make preparations for 1915, plow up these lands and produce all the grains, potatoes and other food products which you can.
It will pay to make use of every acre possible in producing grain, as it is sure to be needed. You may be assured of a market for all and more than you can raise. Indeed there will probably be strong competition for cereals in the latter part of next year. In view of the conditions you would be justified in utilizing extra labor for extending your operations.
If this greater cultivation of Nova Scotia lands is to be undertaken, it should be proceeded with at once. With few exceptions, as you are aware, fall plowing not only results in bigger crops than spring plowing but it expedites work. A man may intend to plow up much larger areas of land in the spring and put in extensive crops, but cold wet weather and the rush of work often seriously interfere with this plan. If, therefore, as much land as possible is plowed this fall, the spring work will be facilitated and much larger areas sown to grain and roots than could be under any other circumstances.
Farmers of Nova Scotia, this is your hour of opportunity. Remember it is the products that you can produce which will be in greatest demand - grains, roots, bacon, pork and beans and apples. I would urge those of you who are now plowing your lands to plow still larger areas and I would strongly advise and urge those who have not yet begun to proceed to the work as promptly and with as much diligence as possible.
A solemn duty has been laid upon your shoulders as farmers. You are expected to enlarge the output of your farms while not only maintaining but wherever possible increasing its productive power. I cannot emphasize too strongly the fact that this work is just as truly practical patriotism as is the work of the soldier in the trenches. Our kinsmen in the Motherland have to be fed, so do also the people of the countries devastated by war. You in peaceful Nova Scotia are now in a position to do much for the cause of humanity and for the enduring benefit of our Empire. G. H. MURRAY
Halifax, Sept. 25, 1914.