South Down members gear up for winter

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Following a disappointing summer of weather, it has been some light relief to finally see a brighter spell, allowing the Harvest to be gathered in.

As is the norm this time of year, South West Down’s Winter Programme is about to get into full swing, discussing issues that beat right at the heart of the agricultural community.

Our 2015/2016 programme kicks off on October 19 (please note the change in date) with a meeting on the Future of Northern Ireland farming, post 2016. Our speakers will be the UFU President Ian Marshall, a member of the Agri-Food Strategy Board who will discuss the prospects in agriculture for our region.

This session’s meetings will all be held in the Young Farmers’ Hall in Rathfriland, and we welcome all members, new or existing, to join with us to discuss these important matters.

The issue of Health and Safety is obviously at the forefront of our thoughts at the present time, with events in recent years highlighting the dangers that our farmers face in their day to day duties. In light of this our November meeting on Monday 9th we are holding a First Aid and Slurry Safety evening, with our guest speakers GP Rebecca Orr and Health and Safety Consultant John Spiers. As part of the evening Sandra Gordon from Cancer Focus will be discussing men’s health issues.

On Tuesday 1st December 2015, we will be holding a group trip to Crumlin Road Gaol. The cost for the day trip is £15, which includes the cost of a bowl of stew for lunch! There are limited spaces available so please call the office for more details and to book your space!

Cereal judging has been completed and it was encouraging to see a large volume of entries into the annual group competition.

Congratulations to all who entered, particularly the eventual winners Samuel Martin (Winter Barley), Derek Martin (Spring Barley) and Robert Mackey (Winter Wheat).

The silage competition is due to open shortly so please contact the group office should you wish to enter.

Finally, don’t forget that you can still pay your Union subscriptions by Direct Debit if you have not already opted to do so, and in return you will obtain a free body warmer or waterproof jacket. Not forgetting all the benefits, you can avail of being a member of the Ulster Farmers’ Union.

We trust all our members are looking forward to the winter programme and that the meetings will be well attended as we come together to look at a wide range of topics from across the entire farming spectrum.