South Tyrone UFU host informative meeting

Robert McIlroy and family with Ivor Ferguson
Robert McIlroy and family with Ivor Ferguson

South Tyrone UFU recently welcomed Cormac McKervey, senior agricultural manager, Ulster Bank and Inspector Keith Jamieson, PSNI to their monthly meeting.

Cormac started his presentation by discussing global issues such as demand for food, renewables, commodity prices and volatility, cheap oil, grain and protein, the bans in Russia and currency exchange rates.

Mr Cormac McKervey, Ulster Bank, Mr Terence Fox, group chairman, and Inspector Keith Jamieson, PSNI

Mr Cormac McKervey, Ulster Bank, Mr Terence Fox, group chairman, and Inspector Keith Jamieson, PSNI

Cormac then discussed the various areas that are taken into account when a bank assesses a loan request.

Cormac went on to say that the two main importers of milk were China and Russian Federation.

There has been a lot of volatility in the milk price in recent years. The average cost of production is 27 – 28 ppl.

He went on to say that if it took 30p to produce a litre of milk then changes need to be made to the farmer’s farming system.

The topic of poultry was then discussed. Cormac discussed the benefits of the integrated supply chain which takes volatility out of the industry. There is good communication within the industry with a greater focus on management.

In relation to the beef industry, Cormac said that there were very few beef farmers that were not using their single farm payment to subsidise their farming business.

In looking forward Cormac summarised the following:

r There is growing demand for quality food;

r GB multiples are loyal to local food;

r Currency, grain prices etc will change over time;

r FSB (Food Strategy Board)– Agri-food is well up the political agenda;

r There is a need for better/more financial planning in farm businesses which includes cash flows, budgets, benchmarking and succession planning.

Inspector Keith Jamieson then took to the floor to address members. He showed a DVD which illustrated how easy it was to steal cattle from our farms. Social media should be used with caution. When a new tractor or ATV arrives on a farm, it is often posted on social media by young people. This allows thieves to know that there are valuable items on the farm and easy prey.

Inspector Jamieson then went on to say that members should always try to get a good description of suspicious vehicles and people in your area. Look out for dints on jeeps and unusual features of trailers.

The vote of thanks to the speakers was proposed by Thomas Douglas and seconded by David Simpson.

Recently UFU deputy president Ivor Ferguson visited one of South Tyrone’s longest serving active farmers, this being Robert McIlroy from Killyman, Dungannon. Ivor enjoyed discussing agricultural issues with Robert through the various decades. They enjoyed a cup of tea. Ivor presented Robert with a hamper on behalf of South Tyrone UFU Group.

Group chairman, Terence Fox, is looking for a good turn out of members at the next South Tyrone UFU meeting which is being held in Dungannon Rugby Club on Monday 4 January 2016 at 8pm. The guest speakers will be Margaret Hardy, St David’s Poultry Team, Dungannon and Ian McNiece from Countryside Services. Margaret will discuss topical poultry issues. Ian will be discussing the roll out of compulsory BVD testing.

r 2016 UFU Diaries are still available for members to collect from the group office.