Policy Committees

The UFU and Policy

The UFU has a dedicated team of people working at local, national and EU policy level to ensure the interests of UFU members are taken into account when policy decisions are being made.

How it works

UFU Policy Structure Diagram

UFU grass roots members discuss policy issues at their local Group and County meetings.  Representatives from these local areas then take members views to the Union's Central Policy Committees where these are discussed in more detail. Policies are then ratified at the UFU's monthly Executive Committee meeting.

UFU Central Policy Committees

Andrew McCammond

Committee Chair - Andrew McCammond

Vice Chair - John Kennedy

Policy Officer - David McClure

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • TB eradication
  • BVD eradication
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • African swine fever
  • Bovine EID
  • Sheep scab
  • OPA
  • Avian influenza

Contact
Pat McKay

Committee Chair - Pat McKay

Vice Chair - Brendan Kelly

Policy Officer - Daryl McLaughlin

Latest figures from the EU Meat Market Observatory. The aim of this is to provide the EU beaf & veal and pigmeat sector with more transparency by means of disseminating market data and short-term analysis in a timely manner. In addition to the website, which is updated regularly, the Observatory has an Expert Group which meets at least 3 times a year.

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Brexit – developing policies on future trade arrangements and agricultural support mechanisms
  • Campaigning for better prices for farmers
  • Representing farmers views with processors and retailers
  • Animal health – primarily in relation to bovine TB and BVD eradication
  • Supporting an NI livestock genomics programme
  • NI Marketing body
  • Seeking flexibility on regulatory controls for cattle and sheep
  • Beef and lamb promotion
  • BSE negligible risk status – maximising the benefits for the NI industry
  • Lobbying for new beef research facilities at AFBI and CAFRE
  • Providing representation on the NI Farm Quality Assurance Board
  • Farm Business Investment Scheme
  • Environmental Farming Scheme
  • EU Exceptional Aid Package

Contact
Mervyn Gordon

Committee Chair - Mervyn Gordon

Vice Chair - Kenneth Hawkes

Policy Officer - Chris Osborne

Latest UFU MPI  https://www.ufuni.org/news/ufu-mpi

Latest DAERA data https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/milk-price-and-production-statistics-1997-onwards

Latest AHDB data https://dairy.ahdb.org.uk/

Latest figures from the EU Commission's Milk Market Observatory (MMO)

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Mandatory milk contracts in Northern Ireland
  • Constituent pricing of milk in Northern Ireland
  • Dairy policy in post Brexit (including the domestic market for dairy products)
  • Promotion of Northern Ireland dairying 
  • Addressing and managing milk price volatility (futures, fixed price contracts, margin protection etc)
  • Analysing energy use on Northern Ireland dairy farms
  • Engage with local dairy discussion groups

Contact
Bill Harpur

Committee Chair - Bill Harpur

Vice Chair - Ian Buchanan

Policy Officer - Aileen Lawson

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Ammonia Emissions 
  • Nutrients Action Programme 2019-2022
  • Nitrates Derogation
  • ​Issues around soil nutrient leaching 
  • Cross compliance verifiable standards - GAEC and SMRs
  • Issues with NIEA and how they interact with farmers – NIEA / UFU Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Environment cross-compliance inspections
  • Agri-environment schemes
  • Working with other organisations to assist farmers and improve environment 
  • Issues around designated sites
  • Participation in the Greenhouse Gas Implementation Partnership
  • Climate Change / Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Water Framework Directive - River Basin Management Plans 
  • Issues around IPPC
  • Sustainable Agricultural Land Management Strategy

Contact
David Johnston

Committee Chair - David Johnston

Vice Chair - Hamilton Loney

Policy Officer - Patricia Erwin

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Research needs and industry levy
  • Sustainable Use Directive (SUD)
  • Horticultural forum
  • Armagh Bramely Apple Festival
  • NI Rural Development Programme 2014-2020

Contact
Nigel McLaughlin

Committee Chair - Nigel McLaughlin

Vice Chair - Alastair Armstrong

Policy Officer - Daryl McLaughlin

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme
  • Brexit – developing policies on future trade arrangements and agricultural support mechanisms
  • Representing farmers views with processors and retailers
  • Animal health – primarily in relation to bovine TB and BVD eradication
  • Supporting an NI livestock genomics programme
  • NI Marketing body
  • Seeking flexibility on regulatory controls for cattle and sheep
  • Beef and lamb promotion
  • Agri-environment schemes
  • Farm Business Capital Investment Scheme
  • Designated Sites
  • Wildfires stakeholder group
  • Forestry Service land management
  • Beef and lamb promotion
  • EU Exceptional Aid Package
  • Providing representation on the NI Farm Quality Assurance Board

Contact
David Dunlop

Committee Chair - David Dunlop

Vice Chair - Brian Megahey

Policy Officer - Sarah Morrell

Current issues the committee is considering:

  •  Rural Crime
  •  Flooding
  •  Road Development
  •  Electric/gas/water development
  •  Agricultural Vehicles
  •  Rating
  •  Gun licences

Contact
Glenn Cuddy

Committee Chair - Glenn Cuddy

Vice Chair - Edgar Carson

Policy Officer - David McClure

Latest figures from the EU Meat Market Observatory. The aim of this is to provide the EU beaf & veal and pigmeat sector with more transparency by means of disseminating market data and short-term analysis in a timely manner. In addition to the website, which is updated regularly, the Observatory has an Expert Group which meets at least 3 times a year.

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Tail biting and docking
  • Red Tractor
  • African swine fever
  • Labour availability
  • Industry education
  • Planning permission
  • Environmental sustainability
  • BREXIT

Contact
Robert Sibbett Jnr

Committee Chair - Robert Sibbett Jnr

Vice Chair - David McElrea

Policy Officer - Patricia Erwin

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Land availablity issues under the new CAP 
  • Producer prices
  • NI potato promotion campaign
  • Plant health
  • Proposed changes to the EU Seed Potato Directive
  • NI Cross-Compliance Verifiable Standards
  • Research and development
  • Access to plant protection products

Contact
Ronnie Wells

Committee Chair - Ronnie Wells

Vice Chair - David Ramsey

Policy Officer - David McClure

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Poultry Education
  • Poultry litter disposal
  • Continued Broiler, Breeder and Commercial Egg industry performance monitoring
  • NIEA Nitrates action programme impact on poultry industry
  • Agri Food Strategy Board – need for additional NI growers
  • Avian Flu
  • Retailer move away from colony egg production
  • Renewable heat incentive

Contact
Jennifer Hawkes

Committee Chair - Jennifer Hawkes

Vice Chair - Carol Bell

Policy Officer - Sarah Morrell

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Definition of "Rural"
  • Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend
  • Rural Healthcare Provision
  • Health and Safety
  • Changes to welfare system
  • Working with Rural Support
  • Budget cuts on rural schools
  • Budget cuts on rural bus routes
  • UFU and Agri Aware's "Dig in!" schools teaching resource
  • Broadband and mobile phone provision in rural areas.

Contact
George Bingham

Committee Chair - George Bingham

Vice Chair - David Thompson Jnr

Policy Officer - Aileen Lawson

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Roll out of NIRDP 2014 - 2020
  • Representation on the 2014 - 2020 NI Rural Development Programme (NIRDP) Stakeholders Group and Monitoring Committee
  • Encouraging members to participate in Local Action Groups (LAG) 
  • Development of the various schemes proposed under the new NIRDP particularly
    • Farm Business Investment Scheme
    • Business Development Groups
    • Agri-Environment Schemes

Contact
John Watt

Committee Chair - John Watt

Vice Chair - James Carson

Policy Officer - Chris Osborne

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Future energy policy in Northern Ireland
  • Improved use of energy in Northern Ireland agriculture
  • Role of small scale renewables in enhancing securiy of supply
  • Future grid connection of small scale renewables
  • Small scale renewables and the hydrogen economy
  • Contestability of grid connections in Northern Ireland
  • Role of micro-grids/private network agreements in Northern Ireland
  • Energy storage for small scale Rrnewables

Contact
Adrian McGowan

Committee Chair - Adrian McGowan

Vice Chair - Roy Lyttle

Policy Officer - Patricia Erwin

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Land availablity issues under the new CAP
  • NI Cross Compliance Verifiable Standards
  • Plant Protection Products and Sustainable Use Directive (SUD)
  • Horticultural Forum
  • VI Operator Roadshows
  • Plant health
  • Powers of the Groceries Code Adjudicator

Contact