UK farming unions join forces on key issues

Tuesday, 1 April, 2014

Last week the Ulster Farmers’ Union hosted its annual farming summit with representatives from NFU, NFU Scotland, and NFU Cymru to discuss a range to important issues and agreed to join forces to tackle a number of long-standing concerns. Following the meeting plans are already under way to co-ordinate activity around retail supply chain operation; EU cross-compliance inspections and penalties; and farm safety. 

UFU President Harry Sinclair said; “It is always useful to meet with our UK farming union counterparts and we covered a broad range of issues in a relatively short space of time. Unsurprisingly there are a number of overlapping issues which are affecting farmers in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales and the Unions have agreed to join forces to address them. 

“It is well known that the retail supply chain is far from perfect and we have already begun co-ordinating national activity to look at the operation of the UK’s Groceries Code Adjudicator to ensure that retailers are treating suppliers fairly and the possible impact of the supermarket price wars on producers. Also, we intend to examine retailer specifications, particularly in relation to beef. EU cross-compliance is another major issue and we all have serious concerns over the absence of an early warning system, lack of reasonable tolerance during inspections, and the proportionality of penalties. Raising awareness of farm safety has been a goal of mine during my presidency so I am pleased that we have a commitment going forward to co-ordinate activity at a UK level. Also on the agenda at the meeting was CAP reform implementation; international trade negotiations; and animal health.

“All in all, it was a very productive meeting and we covered a lot of ground. The UFU prides itself on having strong working relationships with our UK counterparts, which helps to ensure that Northern Ireland’s farmers’ have significant influence at a national and European level.”