UFU focus on future of farming at President’s Area Meetings

28 March 2014: Members of the UK farm unions meet for talks at UFU headquarters in Belfast. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

28 March 2014: Members of the UK farm unions meet for talks at UFU headquarters in Belfast. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

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Ulster Farmers’ Union president, Ian Marshall, says the annual President’s Area meetings, which begin in January, will focus on the future for agriculture after a difficult year for the entire industry in 2015.

The series of meetings begins in Fermanagh, at the Killyhevlin Hotel, on 11 January at 8pm

Mr Marshall said that while there was widespread recognition of the importance of farming and food to the local economy, there was an urgent need to put ways to tackle price volatility at the top of the agenda. He said the meetings will be an opportunity for the leadership team to highlight a number of initiatives.

“As well as focusing on the supply chain, profitability and market volatility, we also intend to take forward ideas to develop new markets, particularly outside the EU. We will look at alternative finance sources and the continuation of training and new capital investment,” said Mr Marshall.

He added that other priorities include making more use of genomics in livestock farming, land tenure and, in particular, plans along with the YFCU, to link farmers with limited succession opportunities to young people trying to get into the industry.

“Throughout 2016 the UFU will also work on improving producer orientated research and development and continue to implement livestock disease eradication and control programmes,” Mr Marshall said, adding that the meetings would allow the UFU to answer questions from members.

“The meetings really are an excellent opportunity for members to speak directly with the UFU leadership team – the people who are at the forefront of discussions on agriculture at local, national and EU levels,” said Mr Marshall.

The dates, venues and times for the 2016 UFU President Area Meetings are as follows:

County Fermanagh, Monday 11th January at the Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen; County Armagh, Wednesday 13th January at the Armagh City Hotel; County Antrim, Monday 18th January at the Tullyglass Hotel, Ballymena; County Tyrone Wednesday 20th January at the Silver Birch Hotel, Omagh; County Londonderry, Monday 25th January at the Roe Park Resort, Limavady; County Down, Wednesday 27th January at the La Mon Hotel, Castlereagh; all meetings start at 8pm.