Support cereal farmers: Dodds

DUP MEP Diane Dodds discussing this years crop of oats with cereal farmer Robert Moore.
DUP MEP Diane Dodds discussing this years crop of oats with cereal farmer Robert Moore.

DUP MEP Diane Dodds has in the past week visited Londonderry cereal farmer, Robert Moore. During the farm visit a range of topics were discussed including the prices of cereal, farm diversification projects and the Brexit.

Commenting, Mrs Dodds said: “It’s a real privilege in my job to get out and about meeting farmers and learning of the real concerns facing the industry. Cereal farmers like Robert have particular concerns which I wanted to witness first hand. This farm is extremely interesting given its wide range of farming activities including growing cereal, keeping suckler cows and self catering farm diversification enterprise.

“Robert has a great enthusiasm for the sector and one which shows in his farming enterprise.

“As harvest is just around the corner, let’s hope the weather is favourable for the task ahead. As farmers are well aware if the weather is not suitable the cost of production goes up whether that is additional drying or lodging of crops.

“Margins are extremely tight for cereal farmers given depressed farm gate prices and the high input costs. While we have seen rises in the price of protein crops, commodities like barley and wheat have been left behind. Only this week we have seen our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland protesting at the ports, highlighting the low prices for cereals and the unfairness of lower standard imports entering the country.

“I would encourage livestock farmers across Northern Ireland to more than ever support their local cereal growers by purchasing straw and cereal closer to home.”

During the visit Mrs Dodds also got to have a discussion with Mr Moore around Brexit and the opportunities leaving the European Union can bring for agriculture in Northern Ireland.

Mrs Dodds continued: “I am grateful for the ideas around future support that Robert has put forward and the many other farmers whom I have met at county agriculture shows across the province this summer. This is the start of a process which will shape agriculture for generations to come. Now is a time for level heads and clear thinking.”