Ulster Farmers’ Union President Ian Marshall has said that he was delighted to welcome over 230 guests, including UFU members, key representatives from the agriculture industry and politicians to the UFU’s Annual Dinner which was held in the Canal Court, Newry, Co Armagh on Friday evening.
Notable attendees included European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan; NI Executive Ministers Michelle O’Neill, Danny Kennedy, and David Ford; Agricultural Attaché for the U.S Embassy Stan Phillips; and the presidents of the National Farmers’ Union, NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru, and the Irish Farming Union.
UFU President Ian Marshall said: “The UFU annual dinner is not only an opportunity to celebrate Northern Ireland’s farming industry but also a chance to network with industry partners, policy makers and politicians, which is especially timely given the current CAP implementation situation, and I had a long conversation with EU Commissioner Hogan with regards to issues such as regional reserve, land availability, ‘young old farmers’ and greening.”
Also during the evening, the prestigious Belfast Telegraph Cup for outstanding agricultural achievement was awarded to Owen Brennan from Devenish Nutrition.
Mr Marshall continued: “From starting life on a small family farm in Co. Carlow to heading up the multi-national company Devenish Nutrition, trading in over 25 countries worldwide with a turnover of £150million and 350 staff, Owen is a stalwart of Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry.
“His vision, co-operation and interest in the future of the agri-food industry are what make him and his business unique. His investment in research facilities and his willingness to give personal support to progress the agri-food industry are also widely recognised.
“Owen also gives up his time freely to any projects that will benefit the agri-food industry, he has served as president of the NI Grain Trade Association, chairman of the Livestock and Meat Commission, and currently he is a member of the Agri-Food Strategy Board. Based on this resume, I cannot think of a more deserving winner for this year’s award.”
The UFU also presented two other awards on the night. The Mary Wilson Trophy for best overall UFU group performance in 2014 was presented to the North West Armagh Group for the second year running. This award recognises the North West Armagh Group’s outstanding performance in membership recruitment; securing subscription income; and their successful delivery of group meetings and social events throughout the year.
The Cuthbert Trophy was awarded to the Donard Group for retaining the highest percentage of their members in 2014. The dedication and commitment shown by the group managers and their staff over the years have enabled them to achieve a retention rate of 98.56%.