This week saw Northern Ireland farm groups Farmers For Action and Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association come together to host a meeting in Cookstown.
More than 200 farmers attended to have their say with Northern Ireland’s politicians in the run up to the May 2016 local election.
Politicians who took part were Claire Sugden, Independent (also representing John McCallister); Roger Lomas, NI Conservatives; Oliver McMullan, Sinn Fein (Agriculture Committee Stormont); Joe Byrne, SDLP (deputy Chair of Agriculture Committee); Alan Love, UKIP; and Sandra Overend, UUP.
Alliance, DUP, Green, NI21 and TUV were all invited but did not send representatives to the meeting.
The meeting heard the politicians give their views on agriculture, the EU and legislation on farm gate prices which would ensure farmers in NI a minimum of the cost of production plus a margin inflation linked across the staples.
The question and answer part was lively and delivered to the politicians the scale of the current farm gate price crisis in Northern Ireland across the board.
The meeting concluded with two votes. Firstly the question of staying in the EU which resulted in a 60%/40% backing a move to leave. The second was the question ‘do NI farmers support legislation on farm gate prices to stem the food corporate relentless pilage at the farm gate?’ The vote returned an overwhelming majority – yes vote!
NIAPA and FFA would like to extend their sincere thanks for the support of the politicians who came and blew the cobwebs off Northern Ireland politics and also the great turn out of over 200 farmers across the sectors, who came along to find out why it will be so important to vote in May next year for legislation on farm gate prices.