Three generations farming at Ards
Billy Martin and family partnership are farming on the shore of Strangford Lough outside of Greyabbey village, on the Ards Peninsula.
Three generations of family are now farming together, with the main enterprise being sheep and growing some cereals for their own use and growing willows for biomass energy.
Billy was involved with the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) from a young age, as his father had been involved in the local Ards branch and had also served as UFU president for two terms. Billy from a young age enjoyed being a member of the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) which he found a great opportunity to learn about farming locally and in other parts of the worlds. He was able to spend time in 1960 in Australia on an exchange trip which he found very beneficial. Billy then also served as the YFCU president from 1975 to 1977.
After YFCU Billy got involved with his local UFU branch and his passion for farming and farmers continued to grow. In 1983 Billy was elected to the position of junior deputy and then the position of president in 1985.
Billy’s involvement in the UFU has given him the opportunity to meet with people from all aspects of life inside and outside of NI and he has made many lifelong friendships. Billy would encourage members to support local group competitions and he has enjoyed entering cereal and silage competitions over the years.
Billy has seen farming changing rapidly over the past 60 years with sector becoming more specialised, he feels that becoming more specialised comes with advantages as well as disadvantages. The role of UFU is to continue to fight for all sectors within its organisation which is key to the future of NI farming.