YFCU president highlights the impact of financial crisis

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YFCU President Roberta Simmons attended the recent meeting of the Stormont Agriculture Committee, held to identify a way out of the crisis now impacting on agriculture in Northern Ireland.

Speaking in the wake of the event and the numerous protests held by farmers at locations across the province over recent days, she said: “Whilst talks with the ARD Committee at Stormont were primarily focused on the dairy industry, we as an organisation have members involved in so many different sectors of the industry that are all struggling with poor farm gate prices.

“We are of the view that all sectors need support at this very difficult and testing time. To this end the YFCU will travel to Brussels to register our position as the decisions required are at this level rather than in the local Supermarket.”

Simmons added: “We have been instrumental in encouraging young farmers to gain at least a level 2 qualification in agriculture and progress to become head of holding within their own family farm businesses.

“It is also extremely encouraging to see all agricultural courses at CAFRE and other campuses fully subscribed to by young people. But unless something is done to improve the sustainability of farming in the immediate and short term, our fears would be that young people will go out and look for employment elsewhere.”

Simmons explained that farmers are facing more and more problems as profit margins become squeezed by international influences.