What a start for Armagh Down!

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The Armagh Down Group have had a fantastic start to 2016!

In February Pat McKay, a beef farmer from Burren, Warrenpoint, was elected chairman of the group with Darren McCormick, a dairy farmer from Bessbrook, elected as vice-chairman.

Pat and Darren are pictured being congratulated by Wesley Aston, UFU Chief Executive, and out going chairman William Irvine.

The group would like to take this opportunity to thank William for his hard work and commitment during his time as chairman and also wish Pat and Darren the best for their terms.

In May the EU farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, visited the farm of the group’s chairman Pat McKay as part of a planned visit to present the facts on EU membership to farmers in advance of the June referendum.

The agenda for the meeting were export market developments, not least because the Russian market, which is particularly hitting the pig industry is still closed, ways to create opportunities for young people to enter and develop within the farming industry, the EU designation criteria for areas of natural constraint, the over bureaucratic EU requirements associated with ‘greening’ which NI readily satisfies, and negotiations on EU trade agreements with other trading blocks with Mercosur and beef access being a particularly critical issue.

The meeting was attended by industry representatives, local farmers and the agricultural press. It was a great opportunity for Pat to stress the challenges faced by Northern Ireland farmers first hand.

The group committee will shortly be getting together to discuss possible meeting topics and trip destinations for the winter program; if you wish us to include any item or subject please contact the group office.