Simpson launches DUP agriculture policy document

Upper Bann MP David Simpson pictured with Diane Dodds MEP and others who attended the recent launch of the DUP Agriculture Policy document in Magheralin

Upper Bann MP David Simpson pictured with Diane Dodds MEP and others who attended the recent launch of the DUP Agriculture Policy document in Magheralin

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Upper Bann MP David Simpson has launched the party’s agriculture policy ahead of the general election.

Speaking at an event in Magheralin to launch the document, Mr Simpson said the DUP was dedicated to delivering a “sustainable, productive and profitable agricultural industry”.

Mr Simpson said: “It is important that we focus on how the industry can be prepared for the future and be best prepared for the challenges which lie ahead. That is what this document seeks to achieve.

“As a party we have held the DARD Minister to account on both direct support and the Rural Development Programme, but there is continued work to be done. This includes ensuring DARD implement the CAP in a way which benefits farmers. Farmers must be clearly and accurately informed of the changes included in the new CAP.

“The need to identify new export markets is something which also involves the Government at Westminster. We rely heavily on exports and it is imperative that DEFRA prioritise export licences to help deliver on the goals set down by the industry in going for growth.

“For the wider rural community, access to broadband is a huge issue and we want to build on the work of the Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster who announced an investment of £17 million to improve this infrastructure across the province.”

Mr Simpson added: “The DUP will use its influence at every level of government to deliver for the agricultural community, and we are the only party able to work at every level from local councils to the European Parliament in fighting for our farmers.”

Issues covered within the document include:

n Lobbying DARD to ensure the CAP is implemented in a manner that best suits Northern Ireland.

n Opposition to funding of any new Areas Facing Natural Constraints (ANC) designation by top-slicing farmers’ single payments throughout the next five years.

n Continue to work to protect the industry from overregulation.

n Call for a new approach to tackling Bovine Tuberculosis.

n Developing a ‘Year of Food for Northern Ireland’ in 2016 to give standout status for both local food in Northern Ireland and in export markets.

n Supporting measures to assist in tackling the theft of animals and supporting a legal requirement for machinery/plant with a value of over £10,000 to have a covert GPS tracking system in it.