President winter road shows start next week

A section of the large crowd attending the Co Down President's Area Meeting at Ballynahinch. Picture: Cliff Donaldson
A section of the large crowd attending the Co Down President's Area Meeting at Ballynahinch. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

Ulster Farmers’ Union President, Barclay Bell has revealed that members can look forward to a new format as the UFU replace the traditional president’s area meetings with a new road show type discussion and debate format, under the title ‘the future of farming’.

These will begin on January 9 in Enniskillen.

The road shows will focus on a number of on-going issues such as: Brexit, volatility, profitability, the supply chain, succession and animal and plant diseases. These road show events are an opportunity to hear members’ views, and for them to put questions directly to the UFU leadership team. However, the focus will be on the facilitated panel discussion and it is expected to be a spirited debate.

The UFU has secured the help of a number of journalists, all with a keen interest in agriculture, to chair the meetings and facilitate discussion and debate.

“These will be familiar names to our members, all have good knowledge about the current issues facing the industry and will help ensure we all get the most out of discussions,” said Mr Bell.

The dates, venues and times for the 2017 UFU Winter Road Shows are as follows:

County Fermanagh, Monday 9th January, Killyhevlin Hotel Enniskillen, Chairperson – David Wright, IFJ;

County Armagh, Wednesday 11th January, Armagh City Hotel, Chairperson – Robert Irwin.

County Antrim, Monday 16th January, Tullyglass Hotel, Ballymena, Chairperson – Ruth Sanderson, BBC.

County Tyrone, Wednesday 18th January, Silver Birch Hotel, Omagh, Chairperson – Conor Macauley, BBC.

County Londonderry, Monday 23th January, Roe Park Resort, Limavady, Chairperson – Richard Halleron, Farming Life.

County Down, Wednesday 25th January at the Millbrook Lodge, Ballynahinch, Chairperson – Karen Patterson, BBC.

All meetings start at 8pm.

The President wants to also put the spotlight on its younger members and to hear what they think the future holds.

“These are the farmers who will ultimately be leading our industry in the years to come, and we want to explore what their vision is and what policies they think would help deliver the future in farming they want,” said the UFU president Barclay Bell.

Given that succession remains a key concern on many farms, the UFU has also invited NFU Mutual to the road shows to give a short presentation on succession planning.

“This is a key element in the future of farming in Northern Ireland. Without a proper succession plan in place a farm family and business could find itself in a very difficult situation,” said Mr Bell.

Visit www.ufuni.org/events for more information about the UFU Winter Road Shows.