Dodds commends successful Winter Fair

Diane Dodds MEP with agriculture minister Michelle McIlveen
Diane Dodds MEP with agriculture minister Michelle McIlveen

DUP MEP Diane Dodds has congratulated the organisers on the success of this year’s RUAS Winter Fair, which took place at Balmoral Park in Lisburn.

Commenting, she said: “The annual RUAS Winter Fair provides an excellent opportunity to showcase all that is good about Northern Ireland agriculture. It is also a useful forum for allowing farmers to meet and discuss the challenges and opportunities currently affecting their businesses.

“This has been a difficult year, with many farm businesses struggling with farm gate prices well below the cost of production, and therefore I welcomed the opportunity to interact with many local farmers and hear their concerns at first hand.

“Whilst the market has shown some positive signs of recovery, including positive uplifts both in global markets and in farm gate prices here in Northern Ireland, there is still frustration amongst farmers that they should have seen this sooner in their milk cheques.

“There can be no doubt that the general mood among farmers was more upbeat given the improved prices and general upturn in the market. There is also a cautious optimism among some farmers that the supply and demand ratio will be kept in check to ensure the industry is not left over exposed.

“Local farm businesses must have confidence about their future and creating a more financial sustainable footing for farmers should be key into the future. I was pleased that so many called into my stand to engage with I and my party colleagues around many of these issues.”

Mrs Dodds added: “I would like to thank everyone at the RUAS and Danske Bank for making this year’s Winter Fair such a success and wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.”