New leadership team elected at UFU AGM

Thursday, 1 May, 2014

The Ulster Farmers’ Union elected a new leadership team yesterday (30th April) at its Annual General Meeting held at Greenmount College. Markethill dairy farmer Ian Marshall was officially voted in as President, while Rathfriland sheep, cereals and cut flower producer Barclay Bell was re-elected for a second term as Deputy President and will be joined by newly elected County Armagh pig, sheep and cereals farmer Ivor Ferguson.

Ian Marshall thanked the UFU Council for their support and said he was honoured to be chosen to lead the organisation. He praised outgoing president Harry Sinclair for taking the helm during one of the most challenging periods in Northern Ireland’s agricultural history and said it had been a pleasure to work closely with him over the past three years. Ian Marshall went on to highlight his priorities for the Union during his term including securing an outcome in relation to CAP implementation that is fair for all farmers; growing the food industry in Northern Ireland and in particular ensuring there is real and sustained profitability in the primary sector; and challenging the unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy which often hinder farm businesses. Mr Marshall also committed to carrying on with the Unions work of improving safety on farms.

The UFU AGM was also addressed by John Hood, Director of Food and Tourism at Invest NI, who stepped in at the last minute in the absence of the  DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill, and James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food and Drink. Both presentations highlighted the impressive opportunities, created by a growing global population, available to those agri-food industries prepared to capitalise on them and stressed the importance of the availability of local raw materials via profitable and sustainable primary producers as the basis for this growth.

Ian Marshall, President

Ian Marshall is a dairy farmer, married with 3 children, farming the family farm near Markethill in County Armagh.  The farming enterprise consists of 180 dairy cows, their followers, and a small bull beef enterprise with store lambs fattened over the winter months. Winter wheat is also grown and crimped with most of the straw retained for feeding. He is a past pupil of Greenmount Agricultural College and has also completed a Masters Degree in Agri-Food Business Development in the University of Ulster, Jordanstown.

A former member of the YFCU he has held the positions of club leader and Armagh County Chairman. Ian joined the UFU nearly 25 years ago and has acted as Group Chairman in the Armagh Down Group  before taking up the role of County Armagh Chairman. He is a long standing member of the UFU Executive Committee, and has been a UFU board member for the past 4 years whilst also representing the Union on the YFCU Executive Committee. He is currently a trustee on the Agrisearch board and a member of the Farm Safety Partnership. He is also a member of the Agri Food Strategy Board and has completed his second term as Deputy President of the Ulster Farmers’ Union.

Barclay Bell, Deputy 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 an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies, chair of the Open Farm Weekend steering group, 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, 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.