Hot topics top of the agenda

Silage competition winners
Silage competition winners

South Tyrone Ulster Farmers’ Union Group have been busy over the past months.

At the end of September members had a meeting with Mr Michael Hanley, Chief Executive, Lakeland Dairies. He gave the well attended meeting an informative overview of how global market influences are producing the current volatility in the dairy sector.

In November Eamon Kelly, Aberdeen Angus Quality Beef Business Development Officer, spoke about the various schemes that are available and how they operate. Everyone enjoyed sampling the Aberdeen Angus steaks that he brought along. Ed Patterson, NFU Mutual Health & Safety Consultant discussed the main dangers that he saw when out and about on Northern Ireland farms. A presentation cheque of £245.09 was also made on the evening to Rosie Ferguson, Cancer Focus NI. This was the proceeds of a collection made at Clogher Valley Show during the summer.

Members were pleased to welcome local Cormac McKervey, Senior Agricultural Manager, UIster Bank to their December meeting. Cormac began his presentation by discussing global issues affecting the Northern Ireland farming industry. He explained the factors banks take into account when making lending decisions.

Group chairman Terence Fox and senior group manager Denise Kelso handed out Christmas hampers to UFU Honorary members. Ivor Ferguson, UFU, visited Robert McIlroy and presented him with a hamper on behalf of the group.

The group’s silage competition took place at the end of last year. Congratulations to Gary and Garnett Liggett, Dungannon on being placed 1st in the dairy section. Second place went to David and John Hadden, Killyman. The beef section was won by Roland Hadden, Dungannon with William McIlroy, Killyman taking second place. Many thanks to everyone that entered the competition. A presentation and a small voucher were given to the prize winners at the January meeting.

Margaret Hardy, St David’s Poultry Team, was the guest speaker at the January meeting. She discussed in detail Avian Influenza and Campylobacter. Margaret highlighted the bio security measures that needed to be strictly adhered to on all poultry units.

Joe McDonald, NI Corporate Affairs Manager, Asda addressed members at the February meeting. He gave members a very interesting insight into Asda operations and what consumers require from them. He informed members that Asda is committed to UK farming. Melissa Wylie, Rural Support also addressed members and informed them of the various areas that they can assist rural communities.

Members are reminded that the next group meeting takes place on Monday 7 March 2016 in Dungannon Rugby Club. The guest speakers will be Darragh McCullough, RTE Ear to the Ground presenter and Wesley Aston, UFU CEO. The topic is ‘What is the future for the NI farming industry’.

The Group have been busy handing out Hi Viz Vests to local rural primary schools and Tyrone Young Farmers’ Clubs recently. This was funded through the DOE Road Safety Grant Scheme.

If members have any queries or need to contact technical officer, Caroline Montgomery, call the office on 028 877 25973. If any members have specific queries relating to the ‘Gas to the West’ project, contact the Group Office.