Winter Fair is an opportunity to promote our high-tech agri-food industry: McIlveen

Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen visits the Dale Farm stand at the RUAS Winter Fair. Pictured with the minister are Dale Farm Chief executive Nick Williams(L) , United Dairies Chairman John Dunlop and Margaret Sherrard from Dale Farm
Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen visits the Dale Farm stand at the RUAS Winter Fair. Pictured with the minister are Dale Farm Chief executive Nick Williams(L) , United Dairies Chairman John Dunlop and Margaret Sherrard from Dale Farm

The annual RUAS Winter Fair is an important opportunity to showcase the cutting edge technology used in Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry.

That was the key message from Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen today as she visited this year’s Fair at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Balmoral Park in County Antrim.

Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen on the AFBI stand at the RUAS Winter Fair today with Dr Conrad  Ferris

Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen on the AFBI stand at the RUAS Winter Fair today with Dr Conrad Ferris

Speaking during her visit, the Minister said: “Northern Ireland has a strong agriculture community and thriving agri-food industry and that is why the annual Winter Fair is such an important date in the diary.

“I am delighted to attend my first Winter Fair as Minister and take the opportunity to meet organisers and exhibitors. This event’s popularity is clear to see from the large number of visitors here today. The Winter Fair has a reputation of a highly-focussed, technical event where farmers can see state-of-the-art technology and latest developments in equipment and herd husbandry.”

The Minister continued: “Farmers can avail of a wide range of opportunities to improve technical knowledge, enhance business competence and learn from one another, while at the same time develop new skills and improve local facilities. There are many and various farm projects which my Department is supporting which will benefit the agricultural community.”

Miss McIlveen took the opportunity to tour the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) event before joining the organisation’s President Billy Robson and Chief Executive Colin McDonald.

Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen at today's RUAS Winter Fair. 
Photo by Aaron McCracken /Harrison Photography

Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen at today's RUAS Winter Fair. Photo by Aaron McCracken /Harrison Photography

The Minister continued: “The Winter Fair is one of the highlights of the agricultural calendar as it offers a tremendous platform for exhibitors to showcase technology and expertise. I have thoroughly enjoyed the vast range of exhibits and have been impressed by the technology on show. I commend the organisers and exhibitors for their dedication to maintaining the quality and variety of displays.”

The Minister also met staff at the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs DAERA exhibition at the Winter Fair. She heard how DAERA’s presence at the event provided an opportunity for all those attending to discuss the particular issues which affect them with staff from the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Veterinary Service, Countryside Management and AFBI all on hand to help.

Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen meets RUAS president Billy Robson as she attends the RUAS Winter Fair today (08 December 2016). Photo Aaron McCracken/Harrison Photography

Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen meets RUAS president Billy Robson as she attends the RUAS Winter Fair today (08 December 2016). Photo Aaron McCracken/Harrison Photography

Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen at today's RUAS Winter Fair. 
Photo by Aaron McCracken /Harrison Photography

Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen at today's RUAS Winter Fair. Photo by Aaron McCracken /Harrison Photography