“It is an honour to represent the NI Grain Trade Association as its President for the next year but I realise it will also be a challenging time,” David O’Connor told the association’s annual general meeting after his election.
David said: “The continuing difficulties faced by all of the farming sectors along with the upcoming referendum on UK membership of the EU are just two of the issues which are going to present NIGTA members with some very serious challenges. In an effort to support our farming customers our businesses have also come under pressure and we are ensuring that we are represented at all of the negotiating tables to try and find solutions for our major industry.”
Referring to developments within NIGTA David stated that Food Fortress, the quality assurance scheme for feed compounders and importers had expanded and the feed compounder sector now had 72 members with 13 of these in the South. The scheme now covers four million tonnes of feed.
Trade awareness courses had been introduced which benefited new entrants to the industry and the Feed Advisers Register (FAR) is ensuring that all representatives of NIGTA members are fully up to date with research and developments in the industry in order to provide a comprehensive service to the farming sector.
David concluded by noting the increase in NIGTA membership and gave a special welcome to the smaller compounders who provide a valuable service to agriculture and are developing their businesses through Food Fortress and FAR.
David O’Connor has been working in the feed trade for 29 years. For the past 25 years he has worked with Cefetra, formerly McCorkell, Belfast. Cefetra operates in the UK and Ireland as part of the Baywa Group, the largest agricultural co-op in Europe, which supplies 34 million tonnes of raw material per year to the European feed market.
As manager of Cefetra and president of NIGTA, David will have little time to pursue his golfing hobby or to support his three children as they attend various venues playing underage football.
The other appointments made at the AGM include Keith Agnew, United Feeds as vice president; Patrick McLaughlin, Devenish Nutrition as honorary secretary; and Stephen Burrell, United Feeds as honorary treasurer. Paul Sloan, Tullyherron Farm Feeds and Niall O’Donnell, United Molasses were elected to serve on the executive committee.
Robin Irvine and Doris Leeman will continue to be employed as chief executive officer and secretary respectively.