John Martin to host farm visit

Greyabbey sheep producer John Martin (left) discussing the upcoming farm visit that will be an integral part of the 3rd YFCU agriculture 'conference with James Purcell, chair of the YFCU agriculture and rural 'affairs committee.
Greyabbey sheep producer John Martin (left) discussing the upcoming farm visit that will be an integral part of the 3rd YFCU agriculture 'conference with James Purcell, chair of the YFCU agriculture and rural 'affairs committee.

Greyabbey sheep producer John Martin will be one the of the three farmers hosting visits as part of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster third agriculture conference, taking place on Saturday January 26th 2019.

The event has been entitled ‘Shaping Our Agri Culture’ and will provide delegates with a unique insight into the opportunities that will present themselves for production agriculture in a post-Brexit world.

John, who manages the family business with his father Billy, runs a flock of 650 mixed composite breeding ewes. These are crossed with a mix of Highlander and Aberfield rams. Approximately one quarter of the flock lamb down in January with the remainder following in the spring. Making best use of grass and forage is the overriding priority for the sheep business.

In addition, the Martins grow and dry biomass willow. They also contract rear dairy heifers.

The other farmers hosting visits are Newtownards milk producer Roger McCracken and Seaforde-based arable and poultry farmer Neil Patterson.

The event will be centred on the La Mon Hotel, close to Comber in Co Down. It will comprise a mix of formal presentations, work-shops and farm visits. Proceedings will culminate with a conference dinner on the Saturday evening.

“The event takes place at a time of tremendous change for agriculture in Northern Ireland,” said James Purcell, chair of the YFCU agriculture and rural affairs committee.

“But with change comes opportunity. And it is this driver which will form the backdrop to the event.

“We want to enthuse and excite delegates about the tremendous prospects that exist as they plan the future of their own farming and related businesses. Regardless of sector, the event has something to offer every agribusiness plus farmers of all ages.”

James continued; “Our conference is an event which will provide speakers with an opportunity to address all of the key drivers for farming moving forwards: market prospects, the future support needs of the industry and the absolute necessity to improve technical efficiency levels at farm level.

“As a result, it will resonate with farmers and stakeholder representatives of all ages.”

Alan Jagoe will give the keynote address at the conference. He is the current Vice Chairman of Agri Aware and a former President of Macra na Feirme

Massey Ferguson and the Ulster Farmers’ Union are the two keynote sponsors of the upcoming conference.

Lindsay Haddon, Advertising and Sales Promotion Manager, Massey Ferguson UK and Ireland said: “It is a great pleasure to once again support the YFCU Agricultural conference. Massey Ferguson is firmly focused on the new generation of farmers, and inspiring young people about the business of agriculture.

“Success in farming means always striving to be better. It is essential to optimise opportunities and have a clear strategy to realise your ambitions. Farming will always be a challenging profession but the long-term prospects for agriculture are strong. This weekend’s programme is about listening, learning and sharing - to make the most of your future.”

Commenting on the significance of the upcoming conference, Union president Ivor Ferguson said: “The UFU is delighted to have the opportunity to sponsor the YFCU’s ‘ Shaping Our Agri Culture conference’.

“This is yet another example, following on from the joint “Land Mobility” initiative, of the two organisations working together on the major objective of delivering genuine and meaningful betterment for the farming industry in Northern Ireland.”

James Purcell concluded: “I feel that all areas of this educational and enlightening day will give everyone attending a great deal of inspiration to face a new year and a new era in the agricultural world.”

The conference fee, which includes lunch and dinner, is £35 per head for YFCU members; £45 for Ulster Farmers’ Union members and £55 for non-members.

For further information contact conference organiser Corrina Fleming on (028) 90 9037 0713: e mail: corrina.fleming@yfcu.org.