Meet us at the marts

Pictured at Ballymena Mart at the launch of 'Meet us at the Marts,' is L-R: UFU Chief Executive Wesley Aston, UFU President, Barclay Bell, UFU Deputy President, Ivor Ferguson and UFU Deputy President, Victor Chestnutt.

Since September, the Ulster Farmers’ Union says it is getting a great response from farmers to its new initiative ‘Meet us at the mart.’

Launched at Ballymena mart in September, the UFU has visited 13 Mart locations across six weeks to connect with members that they might not have seen otherwise, and to reach out to new members.

The idea behind the initiative was to make it easier for farmers to raise key issues directly with the UFU. “Farmers are busy. Sometimes they don’t have time to come to us so we are coming to them,” says UFU president Barclay Bell.

The UFU has signed up new members too with key issues such as slurry, flooding, the ANC scheme, prices and the benefits of being a member all being discussed.

The expertise of the UFU’s Technical Officers and Policy Officers has also been promoted with specialisms amongst the team including Dairy, Rural Development, Environment, Beef and Lamb, Hill Farming, Potatoes, Seeds and Cereals, Rural Enterprise, Food Chain Issues, Pork and Bacon and Animal Health and Welfare.

So far the UFU team have visited livestock marts in Dungannon, Swatragh, Clogher, Ballymena, Armoy, Saintfield, Lisahally, Kilrea, Draperstown, Markethill and Rathfriland. There are plans to visit Plumbridge, Hilltown, Fermanagh, and Omagh marts in the near future.

UFU president Barclay Bell said: “We are proud to serve our members. They are the driving force behind our policies and activities. This initiative is about hearing their concerns and letting them know how we can help. We want to meet non-members as well so they can learn more about what we can do for them.”

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