Meet the NE Armagh chair, William Irwin

My name is William Irwin and I live in close proximity to Portadown.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 12:00 pm
UFU North East Armagh - William Irwin
UFU North East Armagh - William Irwin

I have been the chairman of the North-East Armagh Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) group since February 2020, shortly before the coronavirus pandemic affected the world, although this is the second time in the history of my membership that I have assumed the role.

Through my involvement as group chairman, I also sit on the County Armagh county committee and the UFU Executive committee.

Farming approximately 112 hectares along with my son-in-law, we are involved with the finishing of beef cattle and have a contract with Linden Foods. The success of any beef enterprise is based on having healthy stock. They must be well managed to maximize lifetime gains from both grazed grass and silage, and making sure that the carcasses achieve the highest prices available at the time of slaughter. During the winter months we keep some store lambs to eat some surplus grass.

I have been involved in farming all my life and my father before me. We have been long standing members of the UFU, I would say in excess of 75 years. I remember going to the local group meetings as a young lad with my father.

One of most important issues that the UFU continues to work on is that our NI produce comes from sustainable, traceable supplies with robust checks on animal welfare, nutritional standards and transport. I also feel that we should be doing our utmost to ensure there are better outcomes for the next generation within the industry. The number of young people entering the agricultural sector is increasing, but there are many problems to be addressed. From the challenge of accessing land to the cost of transferring ownership of farms but we, as a Union, are addressing and continue to address these issues.

I would encourage all members to get involved within the UFU at local level and attend their Group meetings. Whilst Coronavirus is posing problems at the moment with face to face meetings, the UFU have been holding online meetings and I would also encourage all members to get logging on and keep up to date on the work the UFU is doing for YOU.