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

Harper Doupe

Committee Chair - Harper Doupe

Vice Chair - Dessie Fulton

Policy Officer - Geoff Thompson

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • TB Strategic Partnership Group response 
  • Eradication of TB (including TVR project and TB Biosecurity)
  • Brucellosis
  • Veterinary Medicated feed/products
  • AHWNI (BVD eradication)
  • Cattle EID
  • Fallen Stock
  • Number of animal welfare cases at factories

Contact
Crosby Cleland

Committee Chair - Crosby Cleland

Vice Chair - Sam Chesney

Policy Officer - Elliott Bell

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:

  • Campaigning for better prices for farmers, particularly in relation to the NI-GB price differential
  • Lobbying for quicker access to new export markets 
  • Objected to proposals for Red Tractor Lifetime Assurance for beef
  • Genomics Project
  • Relaxations in cross compliance 
  • Challenged DARD on veterinary procedures 
  • Beef and Lamb promotion
  • Processor kill charges
  • CAP reform
  • Supporting new beef research facilities at AFBI and lobbying for more resources at CAFRE
  • Lobbied for relaxation in sheep TSE regulations
  • Representation on Farm Quality Assurance Board

Contact
William Irvine

Committee Chair - William Irvine

Vice Chair - Harper Doupe

Policy Officer - Chris Osborne

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

EU Commission's Milk Market Observatory (MMO) was established to allow Member States to discuss how best to deal with the potential increase in price volatility when milk quotas expire in 2015.  Aimed at increasing transparency and providing the most accurate market data the MMO will compile, publish and update a website with the most accurate market data for dairy industry stakeholders. 

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Addressing and managing Milk Price Volatility (Futures, Fixed Price Contracts, Margin Protection etc)
  • Review of Dairy Intervention Threshold levels
  • Review NI contribution to the Milk Market Observatory
  • Dairy Policy in a Post Milk Quota World (including the domestic market for dairy products)
  • Country of Origin Labelling for Dairy Products
  • Dairy Animal Welfare
  • Future of Dairy Research in Northern Ireland

Contact
Wilbert Mayne

Committee Chair - Wilbert Mayne

Vice Chair - Thomas Douglas

Policy Officer - Aileen Lawson

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Nitrates Action Programme 2015-2018 and Phosphorus Regulations
  • Nitrates Derogation
  • ​Issues around soil nutrient leaching 
  • Cross compliance verifiable standards - GAEC and SMRs
  • Issues with NIEA and how they interact with farmers
  • Environment cross-compliance inspections
  • Agri-environment schemes
  • Working with Ballinderry Rivers Trust to explore possibility of new project 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

Contact
Hamilton Loney

Committee Chair - Hamilton Loney

Vice Chair - Tim Hunniford

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
Ian Buchanan

Committee Chair - Ian Buchanan

Vice Chair - John Kennedy

Policy Officer - Elliott Bell

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • CAP Reform
  • Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme
  • Agri-environment schemes
  • Farm Business Capital Investment Scheme
  • Challenged NIEA on issues relating to Designated Sites
  • Lamb promotion
  • Red meat exports
  • Red Tractor Lifetime Assurance for beef
  • Have worked with Fire Service and NIEA to improve awareness around controlled heather burning
  • Organised bracken control meetings

Contact
Bailie Thompson

Committee Chair - Bailie Thompson

Vice Chair - James O'Brien

Policy Officer - Kate Cairns

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Rural Crime
  • Road Safety
  • Working relationship with NI Water
  • Transfer of Planning Powers
  • Tractor Speed Limits
  • Vehicle Licensing
  • Hillsborough Weight Limit
  • Road Developments
  • Gas to the West

Contact
Norman Robson

Committee Chair - Norman Robson

Vice Chair - Kenneth Telford

Policy Officer - Geoff Thompson

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:

  • NI/GB pig price differential
  • Impact of poor pig prices on pig farmers
  • NI pig price reporting service
  • Agri-Food strategy board pig sub group
  • UPBF – Export opportunities (China)
  • DNA testing of pig products
  • Pig Disease – PED, African Swine Fever

Contact
Robert Sibbett Jnr

Committee Chair - Robert Sibbett Jnr

Vice Chair - Dessie Patterson

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
Tom Forgrave

Committee Chair - Tom Forgrave

Vice Chair - Martin Blair

Policy Officer - Geoff Thompson

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Poultry Education
  • Provision of additional DARD poultry advisors
  • 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

Contact
Joy Rollston

Committee Chair - Joy Rollston

Vice Chair - Oliver Mercer

Policy Officer - Kate Cairns

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Rural Proofing
  • Definition of "Rural"
  • Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend
  • Rural Healthcare Provision
  • Disabilities
  • Health and Safety
  • Changes to Welfare System
  • Agriculture GCSE
  • Working with Rural Support
  • Social Farming
  • Succession Planning

Contact
Alex Irwin

Committee Chair - Alex Irwin

Vice Chair - John McCullagh

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
Gary Hawkes

Committee Chair - Gary Hawkes

Vice Chair - Robert Burgess

Policy Officer - Chris Osborne

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Grid Connection of Small Scale Renewables
  • Contestability of Grid Connections in Northern Ireland
  • Role of Micro-Grids/Private Network Agreements in Northern Ireland
  • Energy Storage for Small Scale Renewables
  • Role of Renewable Heat in Northern Ireland Agriculture
  • Use of Poultry Litter as a renewable feedstock
  • DARD policy on small scale renewables in Northern Ireland

Contact
Allan Chambers

Committee Chair - Allan Chambers

Vice Chair - Richard Kane

Policy Officer - Patricia Erwin

AHDB weekly grain market report

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Glyphosate re-authorisation
  • Greening requirements under the new CAP
  • Plant protection products and Sustainable Use Directive (SUD)
  • Hedge cutting
  • Northern Ireland Cross-Compliance Verifiable Standards
  • GM debate
  • Benchmarking
  • Farm Quality Assured Cereal Scheme
  • Nitrates Action Programme 2014-2020  guidance
  • Cash flows
  • UFU cereal competition
  • VI initiative and operator roadshows
  • Research and development

 


Contact

Committee Chair -

Vice Chair - Adrian McGowan

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