UFU seeks immediate meeting with new NI agriculture Minister

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has welcomed the return of a Minister to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). It says it looks forward to meeting Andrew Muir and will be stressing that due to the absence of a Northern Ireland (NI) Executive over the past two years, many much-needed strategic decisions need to be made with urgency.

UFU president David Brown said, “Andrew Muir takes on the agriculture brief at a time when the industry is under extreme financial pressure. This makes the job a big challenge – but at the same time there is considerable scope for a new Minister to deliver. Agriculture is the backbone of the NI economy, and it is vital that Minister Muir supports local food security to help safeguard NI’s agri-industry.

“Decisions regarding investment and key animal health issues have not been taken over the past two years due to the absence of local Government. The UFU will be expressing the need to roll out future direct farm support measures and the need to include sheep, decisions on wildlife intervention in a TB eradication programme and the need for clarity around ammonia controls and planning, to help support our farmers and their ambitions to become more sustainable, helping us to achieve challenging climate change targets and address other environmental issues.

“Considerable uncertainty lies ahead for our industry and the new Minister has plenty of challenges on his plate. We look forward to meeting with Minister Muir and his Executive Ministerial colleagues to make decisions ensuring pressing and strategic issues are addressed as quickly as possible, to safeguard NI’s family farms and agri businesses. As a NI agri-food industry, we are proud to feed over ten million people.”