The period of Herbert Henry Asquith's administration saw the continuance of a prewar laissez-faire attitude towards agriculture, reflecting the political temperament of government, optimism that the war would be of short duration and uncertainty as to how formal direction might be imposed upon an extremely individualistic industry. The official attitude towards dilution of the agricultural workforce was influenced by the Army's short-term needs and by fluctuating domestic circumstances. Non-military substitution presented distinct problems for agriculture. Northamptonshire's agricultural Advisory Committee summoned several ostensibly qualifying workers and told them that they would be exempt from military service for the present. Fundamental political and military developments brought mixed prospects for agriculture. The ‘plough policy’ and associated initiatives increased the tilled acreage in England by some 20 per cent in the two years to 1918. Agriculture can be regarded as one of the unequivocal success stories of the Home Front.
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