Union gears up for the Brexit push

UFU management team. Back row left to right: Membership Director, Derek Lough and UFU Chief Executive, Wesley Aston. Front row left to right: Internal Services Manager, John Weir; Communications Manager, Taryn McHenry and Policy Manager, James McCluggage.
UFU management team. Back row left to right: Membership Director, Derek Lough and UFU Chief Executive, Wesley Aston. Front row left to right: Internal Services Manager, John Weir; Communications Manager, Taryn McHenry and Policy Manager, James McCluggage.

Ulster Farmers’ Union chief executive, Wesley Aston, says the UFU is responding to the challenges of Brexit with additional resources to allow it to focus on securing the best possible deal from politicians.

Mr Aston said change is inevitable and we have to focus on moving forward.

He added: “Our priority is our members, and ensuring we have the capacity to support them and lobby effectively on their behalf.”

After the EU referendum, when the scale of the Brexit challenge for agriculture became clear, the UFU reviewed its structures. The conclusion was that while it already had a strong team, it needed to respond to the unprecedented challenge of Brexit.

“I have been through numerous CAP changes and reforms but those all pale into insignificance when we look to the task of delivering a workable Brexit outcome. That is why we have added two new senior management roles to the team,” says Mr Aston.

James McCluggage becomes policy manager and John Weir is the UFU’s new internal services manager. They join membership director, Derek Lough and communications manager, Taryn McHenry on the senior management team.

“The last twelve months has given us a glimpse of the road ahead and we know Brexit will not be straight forward. We recognise those challenges, but we also want to capitalise on the opportunities Brexit will bring. Our single aim is to ensure politicians here and at Westminster, prioritise agriculture in the negotiations and deliver on their Brexit promises,” added Mr Aston.