UFU on the road with new meeting format

Thursday, 15 December, 2016

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has announced the dates for its annual January meetings and revealed that members can look forward to a new format. “Out will go the traditional president's area meetings, to be replaced with a new road show type discussion and debate format, under the title 'the future of farming',” said UFU president Barclay Bell. These will begin on 9th January in Enniskillen.

“There are key issues about which we want to update our members. Brexit, volatility, profitability, the supply chain, succession and animal and plant diseases are some of the many on-going issues.  These continue to challenge our industry. In particular Brexit, given that Article 50 could be triggered by March. These road show events are an opportunity to hear members' views, and for them to put questions directly to the UFU leadership team. However, the focus will be on the facilitated panel discussion.  We are expecting lots of questions and a spirited debate,” said the UFU president, adding that with the new format and a focus on the future, he and the rest of the leadership team were looking forward to hitting the road in January.

The UFU has secured the help of a number of journalists, all with a keen interest in agriculture, to chair the meetings and facilitate discussion and debate. “These will be familiar names to our members, all have good knowledge about the current issues facing the industry and will help ensure we all get the most out of discussions,” said Mr Bell.

“This year we want to put the spotlight on our younger members and to hear what they think the future holds. These are the farmers who will ultimately be leading our industry in the years to come, and we want to explore their vision is and what policies they think would help deliver the future in farming they want,” said the UFU president.

Given that succession remains a key concern on many farms, the UFU has also invited NFU Mutual to the road shows to give a short presentation on succession planning. “This is a key element in the future of farming in Northern Ireland.  Without a proper succession plan in place a farm family and business could find itself in a very difficult situation,” said Mr Bell.



  • County Fermanagh, Monday 9th January, Killyhevlin Hotel Enniskillen
    Chairperson – David Wright, Irish Farmers’ Journal
  • County Armagh, Wednesday 11th January, Armagh City Hotel
    Chairperson – Robert Irwin, Farm Week
  • County Antrim, Monday 16th January, Tullyglass Hotel, Ballymena
    Chairperson – Ruth Sanderson, BBC
  • County Tyrone, Wednesday 18th January, Silver Birch Hotel, Omagh
    Chairperson – Conor Macauley, BBC
  • County Londonderry, Monday 23th January, Roe Park Resort, Limavady
    Chairperson – Richard Halleron, Farming Life
  • County Down, Wednesday 25th January at the Millbrook Lodge, Ballynahinch
    Chairperson – Karen Patterson, BBC

All meetings start at 8pm