Full text: Iceland 1930

south-western Iceland (in all six districts), but has now split up into 
a number of independent societies. The majority of the farmers in 
these districts are members of the societies, and have their slaughter- 
sheep killed at the slaughter-houses, which also handle the sale, at 
home and abroad, both of the meat and by-products. In other districts 
the slaughter-houses have amalgamated with the purchase and sale 
associations, or the societies themselves have taken up slaughtering 
and the sale of meat ete. 
A little before the middle of the nineteenth century a number of 
societies began to be formed in different parts of the country for 
the promotion of agriculture and farming in general, with a special 
view to levelling, draining and irrigation. These societies were on 
a very limited scale, and generally confined fo one parish each. In 
course of time their number gradually increased, though not very con- 
siderably till after 1887, when they began to receive annual govern- 
ment grants. This support was granted them in proportion to the im- 
provement work done in the preceding year, and in 1893, 90 such 
societies were receiving government grants for the improvement of 
estates; in 1916 their number had swelled to 159. During the last 
years of the Great War many of them had to suspend activities, owing 
to dearth and other difficulties consequent on the War, and in 1920 
only 97 societies were receiving support from the public funds for work 
done for the improvement of estates. Thenceforward their number has 
been growing, and in 1927 there were in all about 200 parish agri- 
cultural societies in the country. The work done by these bodies 
amounted to 34 000 dayworks in 1893, and, increasing steadily year by 
year, it rose to 1568000 in 1912. The next following six years show a 
decline, and in 1918 the dayworks done were but 68 000. Then, how- 
ever, there was again a gradual rise up to 100000 in 1921—1923, 
But the Improvement of Estates Act has given such an impetus to 
the work that for 1927 no less than 500000 dayworks are recorded. 
The societies have laid particular stress on improving the cultivation 
of the homefields and meadows: the former by levelling and fencing; 
the latter by making irrigation canals, ditches and dams. 
An act of Althingi passed in 1903 provided for an annual govern- 
ment grant of one hundred thousand krénur for several years for the 
acquisition of barbed wire fences; the purchase of material and its 
distribution was under the supervision of the government. This measure

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