Varied winter programme for North Antrim

Deputy President Victor Chestnutt congratulates Joe Patton CBE
Deputy President Victor Chestnutt congratulates Joe Patton CBE

The North Antrim Group have completed a very successful winter programme of meetings, where the topics ranged from being addressed by the agri-reps of all the major banks, to integrated beef finishing systems, all of course with an element of light hearted camaraderie on the part of those who attended the various meetings.

These meetings have really proved to be a hub for local members to meet and socialise together.

Joe Patton CBE receiving his award at the UFU AGM

Joe Patton CBE receiving his award at the UFU AGM

The North Antrim Group are indebted to all of our local businesses who provided sponsorship at each of the winter meetings, assisting with room hire, bringing speakers and allowing the group to provide a light supper for those present. To JSC Builders Merchants, Wilkinson Agricultural Contracts and BNG Training we would like to express our thanks.

North Antrim Group have also seen two of their members rewarded this week, albeit in very different ways.

Joe Patton CBE received an honorary membership in recognition of his lifetime of involvement with the UFU, both at local Group Level and for his involvement at various central levels, including serving as President of the UFU in 1980. A great achievement for a lifetime of dedication to the local agri-sector, having seen Joe involved as President of the local North Antrim Agri Association, the Agri Research Institute, YFCU & local council Strategy Partnership to name just a few.

The members and staff of the North Antrim Group would also like to congratulate Victor Chestnutt on his selection as deputy president of the UFU. We know Victor has a great desire to see a vibrant NI agricultural sector and will bring with him fresh and forward thinking.

Willie Peden receiving his Sprayer Certificate from Eoin McCambridge of BNG Training.

Willie Peden receiving his Sprayer Certificate from Eoin McCambridge of BNG Training.

We wish Victor well in his leadership role within Ulster Farmers’ Union.

North Antrim Farmer Proves Pesticide


For many the requirement to undertake assessments permitting the safe and legal use of agrochemicals has proved somewhat of a challenge both in terms of knowledge uptake and practical know-how.

However, for one spritely 89 year old, achieving the City and Guilds Certificate of Competence for Replacement of Grandfather Rights caused no such need for panic! Indeed, armed with his ever-present positive attitude, the whole experience was nothing short of enjoyable!

Willie Peden who farms in partnership with his son, Morris, at Carncullagh, on the outskirts of Dervock, attributes the successful outcome to several factors namely an experienced and skilled instructor who imparted the subject matter in a simple, straight-forward manner, the ability to listen, follow instructions and keep records and perhaps most importantly, the wisdom to know that there really is no substitute for experience!

Describing Willie as a very capable and astute gentleman, it came as no surprise to trainer Eoin McCambridge that the North Antrim farmer has been recognised as the United Kingdom’s oldest sprayer course participant – a fitting tribute to a lifetime of crop husbandry.

Having learned of BNG’s training facility courtesy of a local UFU meeting, contact was made and as they say, the rest is history!

If, like Willie, you wish to gain the specified certificates, in friendly and professional surroundings, give BNG training a call on 07808 594 557 or email

Age is just a number!