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Tillage week begins
Part of a grazing estate divided into farms. The Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction has called on farmers to focus more on tillage since the outbreak of the war Photo: 'Ireland Yesterday and Today', Hugh Sutherland [1909]. Via the Internet Archive

Tillage week begins

Dublin, 12 February 1918 - Tillage week, which launched yesterday, is an initiative by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction to encourage Irish farmers to increase their food production during 1918 by as much as they can.

Speaking yesterday to members of the Rotary Club in the Central Hotel in Dublin, a representative from the Department, Mr T. P. Gill explained the urgency of the campaign in light of the shortage of world supply.

The latest push towards tillage comes in the wake of last year’s demand from the department that an additional 10% of Irish land be cultivated, the response to which saw an impressive increase in the area under tillage by no less than 637,000 acres.

The aim of this year’s campaign is to improve again on 1917 by cultivating a further 5% or more in excess of last year.

The publicity campaign around Tillage Week will operate at many levels: alongside newspaper advertising there will be letters addressed to farmers from government offices while parcels dispatched from business firms will also carry the message on their covers.

Farmers and allotment holders who visit theatres or picture houses will likewise be met with reminders, while leaflets will be distributed throughout the country at fairs, meetings, lectures and motor tractor demonstrations.

To the Irish Times, the publicity campaign is ‘no more than the organised expression of the national need’.

Farmers are being asked to contribute to a campaign which benefits the community, but at no loss to themselves. In line with the practice of last year, minimum prices are guaranteed for all crops, although it is expected that market prices will far exceed these levels as they did in 1917.

For farmers, the tillage campaign speaks to both national and personal interests.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.