This week’s annual general meeting saw the introduction of some new faces to the top table of the Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association.
Leading the organisation for the next 12 months will be newly elected president, Michael McAree of Belfast based grain traders W & R Barnett.
Michael has worked in various parts of the Barnett group of companies since 1993, moving from silo operations to the commodity trading team and is currently Trading Director of Precision Liquids Ltd. dealing with import and distribution of vegetable oils and fats.
David Garrett, Managing Director of Fane Valley feeds was elected vice-president while Barrai McConville becomes the new Honorary treasurer of the association.
Speaking at this week’s annual general meeting, out-going president Keith Agnew reported on a year of significant progress for the association.
He added: “The trade are making a positive contribution to efforts to protect the rural environment through specialist training for field staff involved in the supply of feeds and fertiliser. We are committed to work with farmers to reduce emissions from agriculture through efficient use of inputs.
“However in the area of what the future holds for agri-business outside the European Union we remain just as confused now as we were a year ago. Brexit continues to represent a major uncertainty and the biggest challenge to the feed sector as we look to protect the trade flows necessary to support a competitive livestock sector in the province,” said Keith.
Following the AGM members welcomed John McCallister who gave an interesting insight into his work with the land mobility scheme in Northern Ireland.
This initiative has a valuable role in creating a pathway for young people to pursue a career in farming while helping retiring farmers find a way to phase out of the industry.