UFU brief NI Agriculture Committee on pig difficulties

Thursday, 12 February, 2015

Representatives from the Ulster Farmers’ Union have met with the NI Executive’s Agriculture Committee to brief them on the current difficult situation facing pig farmers.

Following the meeting, UFU Deputy President Ivor Ferguson said:  “We had a very positive and constructive meeting with the NI Assembly’s Agriculture Committee and I believe they are sympathic to the plight of pig farmers. We discussed a wide range of issues but the main area of concern continues to be the unjust and widening price differential.  Many Northern Ireland pig farmers are still facing an unsustainable and unfair price differential in comparison with their GB counterparts and more needs to be done to see this crucial issue addressed.  This is especially frustrating as our farmers produce pigmeat to the same high Red Tractor standards as across the water and therefore NI farmers should be paid accordingly. Also, feed prices continue to be higher in NI resulting in raised input costs and farmers profit margins being squeezed.

“The meeting with the Committee was a welcome opportunity to inform our political leaders about the serious situation facing our pig farmers and I feel confident that they have come away with a solid understanding of the current issues. The UFU continues to keep a close eye on market developments and has urged the members of the Agriculture Committee to do what they can to show their support for pig farmers and to help improve the current situation.”

UFU Pigs Policy Committee chair Jonny Cuddy and Policy Officer Roger Allen also attended the meeting, which also covered a range of other issues including the wider current market situation, recommendations from the Agri-Food Strategy Board, export opportunities, potential pig diseases, and biosecurity.