Latest thinking on CAP at NIIAS conference


THE theme for this years’ annual conference of the NI Institute of Agricultural Science (NIIAS) is: CAP - Can Agriculture Prosper? The event has been kindly sponsored by Redrock Machinery Ltd.

Coming in the middle of intense negotiations, as Europe moves towards a deal on the Common Agricultural Policy later in 2013, the annual conference is well timed to provide an important update. The event will also give an international perspective on CAP reform, with the conference coinciding with a visit to Northern Ireland by members of CEDIA, a group representing agricultural consultants and agronomists from across Europe.

“The conference is an opportunity to meet with international visitors and hear their views on CAP reform,” said NIIAS chairman, Gavin McQuaid.

“We have attracted high profile excellent speakers who will give an insight into how negotiations are progressing at European level, where agreements might be made and what this will mean for local farmers,” confirmed Gavin.

The line-up of speakers includes local MEP Jim Nicholson, one of the longest serving MEPs in the European Parliament, having been first elected in 1989. He is a member of the Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development committee and also agriculture co-ordinator for the European Conservatives and Reformists Group; the fifth largest group in the European Parliament. Mr Nicholson will provide an update on the CAP reform process as it currently goes through the European Parliament.

With the Irish currently holding the EU presidency to the end of June 2013, they are in an important negotiating position. Outlining the Irish thinking on CAP reform and where compromises might be possible will be Justin McCarthy, the incoming editor of the Irish Farmers Journal. Mr McCarthy, who originates from Co Down takes up the post from 1 March 2013, having served as livestock editor for the past seven years.

There will be an opportunity to discuss the implications for Northern Ireland and key areas of importance for the local industry in the negotiations.

The annual conference will be held on Thursday 14 February at Greenmount campus, Antrim, starting at 7pm with a light supper.

To book your place contact NIIAS executive secretary Kate Curran on 02892 681078 or email on or before Monday 11 February.

The event costs £5 for students, £15 for NIIAS members and £20 for non-members.