Northern Ireland Farm Groups, including Farmers For Action and Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association, met the Agriculture Minister and her team earlier this week at Stormont to discuss progressing further the idea of legislation on farm gate prices.
After the meeting a spokesperson said the Minister and team, including Department representatives, continue to take the isolated view that there are many unfounded reasons as to why this would not work.
Michael Clarke, NIAPA Chairman stated: “Farmers find themselves in the position where they would have nothing to lose by the introduction of the legislation on farm gate prices and we have confirmation that it is within Stormont’s devolved powers to deliver. Thankfully the responses from virtually every other party and independents are much more positive as we progress with having the legislation written and completed! In addition, as we now face the uncertainty of Brexit and previous and present UK Government’s negative attitude to farm subsidies it would appear that our timing for legislation is perfect, as it continues to garner the support it deserves with those gravely concerned about rural Northern Ireland and the wider economy.”
Michael concluded: “In fairness to the Minister and her team, they did concede that when they would see sight of the legislation document after completion that they would then judge it accordingly.”
The second item on the agenda was bovine TB and the failure of UK and NI Governments to date to sort this scourge of the countryside, obviously the new Minister needs a little time to make her mark and points out she wants to see the results from the recently set up TB forum before deciding how to move forward.
William Taylor, FFA, pointed out that Southern Ireland last year culled approximately 6,000 infected badgers and are well on their way to eradicating the disease thus leaving NI well and truly behind.