UFU comment on DAERA priorities for the agri-food sector 

UFU President William Irvine on his County Armagh farm. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has welcomed clarity around the direction of travel within the new Farm Support and Development programme, following the announcement yesterday (14 May) by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Minister Andrew Muir.

UFU president William Irvine said, “The Minister has today confirmed DAERA’s plans for future farm support. Whilst it is encouraging to have clarity, it is important that all sectors are supported. More work must be done to improve long-term resilience, growth and ensure key animal health issues are dealt with. It will be challenging for the NI agri-industry; however, it is vital DAERA act promptly and ensure the new Farm Support and Development programme works for all farming enterprises.

“Agriculture is the backbone of the NI economy, and it is vital that the Minister supports local food security to help safeguard the local agri-industry. Farming families are battling through another testing year with spiralling weather events, high input costs, fluctuating farmgate prices and TB continuing to cause devastation. Investing and supporting in our livestock, arable and horticulture sectors is essential for productivity, job creation, and economic and environmental delivery. All critical elements that translate into a prosperous future for the agricultural industry.

“The UFU will continue to work with DAERA to ensure a seamless transition for farmers. It is vital that DAERA communicates effectively with farmers about the schemes and actions that will be phased in over the next number of years. This is critical to help ensure the sustainability of our unique family farm structure in NI.”