Our ‘new normal’

Life has certainly changed since our last Group Focus in December.

2020 started quietly enough, with the President’s Roadshow in Tullyglass.

The hot topics coming out of it were if the Stormont Executive would finally resolve their differences, and the expectations placed on our new Agri Minister, Edwin Poots. Meanwhile, coronavirus was happening in China.

We did manage to squeeze in a couple of events before lockdown kicked in. We had a fabulous trip on Thursday 12 March to Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Farm & Stud, beginning with a full fry in the Carrickdale Hotel on the way down.

Upon arrival, farm manager Joe O’Mahony, met us and took us on a tour around the impressive estate. He gave us the facts and figures around Ryanair boss O’Leary’s prizewinning Angus cattle and his fantastic history in the racing world, having won the Grand National three times, most recently with the infamous Tiger Roll. Stopping for a great feed in the Monasterboice Inn on the way back home finished the day perfectly.

Our last meeting of the year saw Dr Geoff Thompson, Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) animal health, pigs and poultry policy officer, visiting us to give an update on what the ‘hot’ topics were in animal health.

The amount of work going on behind the scenes in UFU policy never fails to impress and we came away not only better informed, but content that we are in safe hands.

Some good news during lockdown was that D&A Wallace managed to scoop up second place in the wholecrop category of the silage competition UFU Northern Ireland finals!

Well done and it is great to know such good silage is being produced consistently in our group.

It is with regret that we announce that David McClure, assistant group manager, is leaving us for pastures new. David is joining the UFU policy team and we wish him all the best for the future, we know he will excel in his new position.

Please ensure that we have your mobile numbers and email addresses so that you can be informed of any other upcoming events. We also have a presence on Facebook so please follow us at www.facebook.com/ufusouthantrim.

The office in Crumlin is currently closed to the general public, but it is ‘business as usual’, albeit our staff have been working from home. Should you have any queries, please call the office telephone number as normal. We hope to return to the ‘new normal’ whatever that may look like in the near future. As always, we very much appreciate your continued support.