The Mid Down Group of the Ulster Farmers’ Union recently hosted vice-president Ivor Ferguson, who gave members a round-up of the current issues that the policy team and office-bearers are dealing with.
Included in this was much of the uncertainty facing the industry with the Brexit process and finding out what the members’ concerns are surrounding this.
The TB situation was also discussed and the difficulties faced by some members who have been hit hard and have lost years of genetics as a result. There is still concern regarding the price differential between Northern Ireland producers and UK mainland producers.
Ivor explained some of the successes as the price differential in pigs and lambs has been reduced and is almost at parity now but he understands that there is still a way to go for the beef industry.
The members are very grateful for Ivor taking the time to come along to the meeting and being so open to discussion and questions.
In December, the group had a change of venue to the Millbrook Lodge Hotel and had Tom McCormack, Ed Shaw and Nigel Reid from Friends in Action, a Christian charity, to speak on drilling for water in Burkina Faso and the difficulties faced by the teams out there.
The charity has a motto “Demonstrating God’s love and provision in practical ways” and this is clear to be seen by the dedication of all who are involved. The teams face many difficulties as they drill and they must learn to cope with the disappointment faced when they end up with a dry hole instead of a well of clear fresh water.
Tom explained that they were drilling in the grounds of a school and had to leave without finding water and having drilled only to end up with two dry holes. The disappointment faced by all the team must have been very difficult to deal with as most of the village turn out to see the drilling take place. We would like to thank the Friends in action team for coming along and sharing some of their experiences.
Earlier in the year the group had a bit of a strange outing when members took the big yellow boot on tour. Maybe we should explain better. Farm Safety Foundation is a charity that aims to change the behaviour and attitude of farmers to farming safely.
The big yellow boot was taken on tour and photographed visiting many locations including Abernethy Butter, Tinsley Contracts overlooking the Mournes to name a few. We hope that we raised awareness of the charity and farm safety around the area.