GEOFF Thompson from Annaclone and Magherally YFC recently travelled to Brussels as part of the YFCU delegation to meet with MEPs. Here’s an account of his time there:
“Last month 20 YFCU members from across Northern Ireland were given the opportunity to discover first hand the influence that the European Parliament has on Northern Ireland Agriculture.
“The three day study trip began with a tour of a local dairy farm that has been able to avail of EU funding in recent years in order for the owner to diversify his business, allowing him to produce local Gouda cheese that he is able to sell on to local supermarkets. During the visit, the participants were given the opportunity to sample some of the cheeses made on the farm.
“On the second day of their trip, the young farmers were invited for a tour of the British Agricultural Bureau (BAB) in order to discover how the Ulster Farmers’ Union is able represent Northern Irish farmers within the EU Parliament and the importance of lobbying MEPs over the concerns of local farmers.
“During the final day of the excursion, the group was given a tour of the European Parliamentary buildings by local MEPs, Diane Dodds and Jim Nicholson. During this time, the members were able to question their MEPs regarding important issues surrounding the upcoming vote on CAP reform, and a number of other pressing local agricultural issues.
“In all, the trip proved to be extremely enlightening, and the 20 YFCU members who were able to participate are indebted to YFCU HQ staff for organising such an informative and educational trip, along with Diane Dodds for her invaluable assistance in sourcing funding.”