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

Desmond Fulton

Committee Chair - Desmond Fulton

Vice Chair - Andrew McCammond

Policy Officer - Geoff Thompson

Current issues the committee is considering:

  • Eradication of TB (including TVR project and TB Biosecurity)
  • Veterinary Medicated feed/products
  • BVD eradication
  • Cattle EID
  • Avian influenza
  • BSE negligible risk status
  • Animal welfare during transport

Contact
Sam Chesney

Committee Chair - Sam Chesney

Vice Chair - Pat McKay

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
William Irvine

Committee Chair - William Irvine

Vice Chair - Harper Doupe

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:

  • 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
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 – 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
  • Ammonia Emissions

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
John Kennedy

Committee Chair - John Kennedy

Vice Chair - Dermot McCullagh

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
James O'Brien

Committee Chair - James O'Brien

Vice Chair - David Dunlop

Policy Officer - Lorraine McKnight

Current issues the committee is considering:

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

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
  • Agri-Food strategy board pig sub group
  • UPBF – Export opportunities (China)
  • Pig Disease – PED, African Swine Fever
  • Red Tractor standards
  • BREXIT

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
Martin Blair

Committee Chair - Martin Blair

Vice Chair - Ronnie Wells

Policy Officer - Geoff Thompson

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
Joy Rollston

Committee Chair - Joy Rollston

Vice Chair - Olive Mercer

Policy Officer - Lorraine McKnight

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
  • Agri Aware Schol's Resource
  • Broaband and Mobile Phone provision in Rural areas.

Contact
John MCullagh

Committee Chair - John MCullagh

Vice Chair - George Bingham

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:

  • 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 Renewables

Contact
David Matthews

Committee Chair - David Matthews

Vice Chair -

Policy Officer - Patricia Erwin

AHDB weekly grain 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
Adrian McGowan

Committee Chair - Adrian McGowan

Vice Chair -

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