Office bearers

Wesley Aston

Wesley Aston Chief Executive

Wesley grew up and still lives on a small livestock farm in Markethill, Co Armagh and he graduated from Edinburgh University with a Degree in Agriculture in 1989.

He started his career with the UFU in 1991, firstly as Policy Officer for Pigs, Poultry and Fish Farming before moving across to cover Dairying and heading up the Union’s Policy Team in 1995 and more recently the Union’s Communications Team.

During his time with the UFU he has represented the Union at local, UK and EU levels and has been centrally involved in the UFU’s activity on virtually all of the major issues affecting Northern Ireland’s farmers over the past twenty years including: several CAP reforms; BSE, Foot and Mouth Disease, and Dioxin crises; £3 million Snow Hardship and £1.3 million Fodder Transport Schemes; a major ongoing Farm Safety Initiative; deregulation of the NI Milk Marketing Board; establishment of AgriSearch and Animal Health and Welfare NI; EU Nitrates Directive implementation; several farm capital investment and agri-environment schemes; secured £6 million of agri-monetary compensation for LFA farmers; major review of agri food related bureaucracy; introduction of sheep electronic identification; development of NI Executive’s Rural White Paper; introduction of £3 million Young Farmers’ Scheme; National Park opposition; Fermanagh flooding; Open Farm Weekend; retailer protests and creation of UK’s Groceries Code Adjudicator; ‘Horsemeat Scandal’; NI Agri-food Strategy Board input; introduction of Bovine TB Badger TVR trials; and introduction of a mobile ‘farmer health check’ service.

Barclay Bell

Barclay Bell President

Barclay Bell farms on an 8th generation farm at Rathfriland, County Down.  He is married with 3 children.  Enterprises on the farm are cereals, sheep, winter accommodation for dairy heifers and willows.  Farm diversification has also played a role on the farm with a cut flower enterprise and two years ago a wind turbine was erected.  Barclay is a past member of the UFU Beef and Lamb Committee and Seeds and Cereal Committee, County Down Chairman and a member of the UFU Board.  He is also a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies, chair of the Open Farm Weekend steering group, a member of the Farm Safety Partnership, NFU Mutual Regional Board Member, a past YFCU County Chairman and member of YFCU Executive Committee, and a past Chairman of Texel Sheep Breeders Club NI.

Ivor Ferguson

Ivor Ferguson Deputy President

Ivor Ferguson is a pig, sheep and cereal farmer from Markethill in Co. Armagh. He is married with 4 children. While at school he was secretary of the Agrarian Society and an active member of Mountnorris YFC. He is a graduate from Harper Adams University with a HND in Agriculture and is a founder member and committee member of Armagh Quality Lamb Group. Ivor has always been a strong supporter of the Union and prior to becoming Deputy President he was Chair of the UFU Pork and Bacon policy committee and represented the Union at the Pork and Bacon Forum. He is also a member of the CAFRE Advisory Group, representing the intensive livestock sector.

Victor Chestnutt

Victor Chestnutt Deputy President

Victor Chestnutt is a fourth generation farmer based on the North Antrim Coast, near the Giants Causeway. The family farm is run by Victor, wife Carol and son David. As a former Greenmount student Victor has shown a life long commitment to farming. Firstly managing a sheep and suckler herd and later diversifying to introduce an arable enterprise, producing feed for the livestock, rearing calves and undertaking a bull beef finishing system. Since then Victor has also introduced a pedigree beef herd and more recently a major decision was taken to extend the exisiting enterprises to incorpoate a new dairy unit. Always a firm admirer of the Union prior to becoming deputy president Victor has held several UFU and industry positions, including; County Antrim group chairman, President of the Texel Sheep Society and chairman and co-ordinator of Causeway Coast Quality Lamb group.