Co Antrim farmer wins election to British Wool Board

Brendan Kelly has been elected as British Wool's Northern Ireland Board Member
Brendan Kelly has been elected as British Wool's Northern Ireland Board Member

Brendan Kelly, who farms in Randalstown, Co Antrim, has been elected as British Wool’s Northern Ireland regional board member for a three-year term, beginning on 1 April.

As well as being an active member of the Ulster Farmers’ Union’s Beef and lamb committee, he is also a member of the British Isles Shearing Competitions Association executive committee and a senior shearing judge as well as an advance shearer in his own right.

Farming in partnership with his two brothers, Mr Kelly runs around 950 breeding ewes, including Mules and Romney, as well as 90 suckler cows on over 600 acres of grazing land.

On notification of the election results, he said: “Thank you for electing me as Board Member for Northern Ireland, I’m delighted and am looking forward to fulfilling the role representing producers in my region. I’m very aware of the current uncertain challenges facing our industry but do believe as wool producers we’ll be in a stronger position if we all support and continue to raise the profile of British Wool.”

Mr Kelly is very keen to promote the work British Wool does on behalf of sheep producers, especially those in his region. He’s proud of the shearing training and the consumer marketing of British wool products and feels both the grading and wool auctions are important ways of adding value to the wonderful, natural product.

Mr Kelly replaces Dungiven man Ian Buchanan, who has been Northern Ireland’s representative on the Wool Board for the past 12 years. He was elected to the position of Chairman in 2015, the first man from Northern Ireland to hold this position.

The board is responsible for the central marketing of fleece wool that is produced in the UK. A farmer-run organisation, it was established in 1950 with the aim of achieving the best possible net return for producers. It is the only organisation in the world that collects, grades, sells and promotes fleece wool and is the only remaining agricultural commodity board in the UK. The Board is a non-profit-making organisation, returning to producers the market price for their wool, less its own costs.

Its objectives are to provide a secure market outlook for producers while stimulating demand by technical research, product development and promotion.

The board also acts to improve the quality of the UK’s wool clip and to provide an efficient marketing service from collection to auction.