Wesley Aston appointed as UFU CEO Designate

Picture: Cliff Donaldson
Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has announced the appointment of Wesley Aston as the Chief Executive Designate of the organisation.

Commenting on the announcement, UFU President Ian Marshall said: “The UFU undertook a very thorough recruitment process over the past few months and were encouraged with the response received. The outcome of this is that we are pleased to be able to announce this appointment and act quickly following Clarke Black’s decision in October to retire after 13 years of dedicated service to the UFU and we will have several months before he retires at the end of April to facilitate the hand over to Mr Aston.

“Wesley has been with the organisation for over 20 years and brings with him a very extensive knowledge and understanding of both Northern Ireland Agriculture and the UFU as an organisation. We would like to congratulate Wesley on the recent appointment and we look forward to working with him as he takes up the reins of CEO in due course.”

Wesley Aston grew up and still lives on a small livestock farm in Markethill, Co Armagh and he graduated from Edinburgh University with a Degree in Agriculture in 1989.

He started his career with the UFU in 1991, firstly as Policy Officer for Pigs, Poultry and Fish Farming before moving across to cover Dairying and heading up the Union’s Policy Team in 1995 and more recently the Union’s Communications Team.

During his time with the UFU he has represented the Union at local, UK and EU levels and has been centrally involved in the UFU’s activity on virtually all of the major issues affecting Northern Ireland’s farmers over the past 20 years including: several CAP reforms; BSE, Foot and Mouth Disease, and Dioxin crises; £3 million Snow Hardship and £1.3 million Fodder Transport Schemes; a major ongoing Farm Safety Initiative; deregulation of the NI Milk Marketing Board; establishment of AgriSearch and Animal Health and Welfare NI; EU Nitrates Directive implementation; several farm capital investment and agri-environment schemes; secured £6 million of agri-monetary compensation for LFA farmers; major review of agri food related bureaucracy; introduction of sheep electronic identification; development of NI Executive’s Rural White Paper; introduction of £3 million Young Farmers’ Scheme; National Park opposition; Fermanagh flooding; Open Farm Weekend; retailer protests and creation of UK’s Groceries Code Adjudicator; ‘Horsemeat Scandal’; NI Agri-food Strategy Board input; introduction of Bovine TB Badger TVR trials; and introduction of a mobile ‘farmer health check’ service.