UFU to participate in Agriculture Ministers – industry summit

Friday, 14 August, 2015

Ulster Farmers Union president, Ian Marshall, says he will use Monday's meeting with Liz Truss in London to make clear that the problems of the farming industry are not confined to the dairy sector.  Along with the other UK farm unions the UFU is meeting the DEFRA minister and the farm ministers from Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff to warn of the growing financial crisis across a farming industry hit by poor prices and the impact of a weak euro on the trading position of major commodities.

“We recognise that this is not about seeking a quick fix solution,” said Mr Marshall.  “The problems the industry faces need both short and long term action, and will be making that clear to the Secretary of State at the meeting,” he said.

In the short term the UFU, and others, want the UK government to press the farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, to accept there is a need to review the intervention price for dairy products.  It sees this as a way to shake the Commission out of its denial that farming is facing a crisis. 

“There are however longer term issues – and these centre on supermarkets needing to pay a price that will ensure the already poor 60 per cent level of self-sufficiency for UK food does not get worse,” said Mr Marshall.  He said the current crisis across agriculture had forced this up the political agenda in London and with the devolved administrations across the UK.  “Having got farming there, it is essential it stays there until short and long term issues are resolved.  We do not want politicians to give glib answers or seek to make headlines with solutions that do not really solve the deep problems the industry is facing,” said Mr Marshall.