Fermanagh Grassland Club holds annual general meeting

The new chairman of Fermanagh Grassland Club, Michael McCaughey (right) from Trillick, receiving the club's chain of office from John Egerton, outgoing chairman.
The new chairman of Fermanagh Grassland Club, Michael McCaughey (right) from Trillick, receiving the club's chain of office from John Egerton, outgoing chairman.

The new chairman of Fermanagh Grassland Club is dairy farmer, Michael McCaughey from Trillick.

Michael was elected at the club’s annual meeting to succeed John Egerton.

Agricultural journalist Richard Wright (centre) guest speaker at the AGM of Fermanagh Grassland Club, with outgoing club chairman, John Egerton (left) and William Johnston, club secretary

Agricultural journalist Richard Wright (centre) guest speaker at the AGM of Fermanagh Grassland Club, with outgoing club chairman, John Egerton (left) and William Johnston, club secretary

The new vice-chairman is David Foster, a suckler and beef farmer from Derrylin.

The new club committee is as follows: Officer-bearers along with immediate past chairman, John Egerton and David Brown, Robin Clements, Trevor Dunn, Albert Foster, James Murphy and Alan Warnock.

The outgoing secretary, William Johnston and outgoing treasurer, Philip Clarke were both re-elected.

The speaker at the annual meeting was agricultural journalist and broadcaster, Richard Wright, who was the voice of BBC Radio Ulster’s Farmgate programme for 30 years and a specialist on European Commission and CAP affairs.

He told farmers that there will be opportunities for agriculture in the future, but farmers will have to make the most of them.

Richard Wright told members of Fermanagh Grassland Club at their annual meeting in the Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen, that market forecasts for agricultural commodities had been recently outlined by the European Commission and said they gave a good picture of where agriculture would be in 2030.

On milk, he said the market forecast was for continual growth although at a small level indicating global demand for dairy products. He said it will be estimated that Europe would produce one third of global milk demand.

Poultry would continue to grow to meet demand while pork would show a fall in Europe, according to the forecast.

In terms of beef, the European forecast indicated that 2018 was a highpoint for production and would show decline in production. Sheep production would continue at current rates but demand for grain would continue.

He then took a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis of agriculture saying that farmers are extremely adaptable and resilient, able to cope with most changes.

A weakness he felt was that they depended on subsidies or support but that the only reason for this was to give consumers cheap food.

He said opportunities would be based on technical excellence driven by science, especially if farmers could break free from red tape and regulations.

He said there was a risk that farmers’ markets could be undermined with cheap food going into the future after Brexit.