Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA, pictured, has met with senior DAERA Officials in Dundonald House.
Mr Irwin said the meeting was a useful opportunity to raise a number of key issues surrounding Ammonia, Stage 2 Reviews and the Farm Business Improvement Scheme.
Mr Irwin said: “Despite the unfortunate fact the Assembly is not sitting, I am very keen to ensure that the voice of the farmer is still heard loud and clear especially in terms of registering concerns with Departmental officials on a wide variety of issues.”
He added: “I am grateful for officials for taking the time to meet with me and for listening to my concerns on the issue of ammonia and the problems this is presenting across the Province. I impressed on officials the need for a strategy to effectively address the ammonia issue as it is vital it is tackled to enable effective and sustained growth. We have a vibrant agri-food sector that depends on a vibrant farming industry, the two are interdependent.
“I also raised the issue of Stage 2 Reviews and as I have said before, I feel it is unfair that despite an independent panel making a recommendation at a review, this can then be rejected by the Department. This has been a bone of contention amongst farmers who have found themselves in this position especially when the panel has been sympathetic to their plight.”
He concluded: “On the issue of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme I emphasised how important the scheme is to the agricultural sector. It is important that those still awaiting approvals are processed as quickly as possible. FBIS is key to assisting farmers move forward and make farming more efficient and with that more sustainable. I will be continuing to liaise with officials in the coming weeks and I will continue to speak up for farmers across the Province.”