Ulster Farmers’ Union President Ian Marshall is urging farmers across Northern Ireland to take advantage of a free pest control scheme run jointly by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the UFU.
The scheme allows members of both organisations to cooperate to try and prevent damage caused by pests and predators such as woodpigeons, crows, rabbits and foxes.
Farmers are increasingly under time pressures and the scheme is one way of relieving the hassle of taking time out to protect crops or livestock.
BASC has compiled a register of its members who are keen to take up shooting opportunities. The organisation aims to put UFU members in touch with an insured BASC member who will provide a service free of charge.
Director of BASC NI Tommy Mayne said: “Pests can be a significant and costly problem for farmers and shooting is the most effective way of reducing the damage they cause.
“The BASC/UFU Pest Control Scheme provides a win-win situation for both shooters and farmers, by giving BASC members access to new shooting opportunities and providing farmers with much needed help with pests that are damaging crops, taking livestock and spreading disease.
“Farmers will also have peace of mind from knowing that BASC members are covered by BASC’s robust insurance policy which protects both the shooter and the farmer.
“The scheme is only open to BASC and UFU members and we would encourage all UFU members to spread the word about the free service that BASC members are providing to the farming community.”
UFU President Ian Marshall said: “The aim of this scheme is to help put farmers in touch with people who shoot so they can help reduce the damage being caused by pests.
“We are constantly hearing from farmers who have crops damaged or livestock killed. Pests can also spread disease.
“This service is completely free to UFU members and after your initial contact with BASC all the rest of the contact will be between you and the BASC member.
“If you do not own the ground, you must have the landowner’s permission prior to shoot and where possible you will need to give BASC as much notice as possible.”
If you shoot but are not a BASC member, phone 028 9260 5050, visit the BASC website www.basc.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org to join.
Farmers who are not UFU members but want to take advantage of the scheme can join the UFU by phoning 028 9037 0222. BASC NI will put UFU members in touch with their closest registered BASC members.