Agri-conference aims to encourage young farmers to embrace change

Pictured from left are: Nigel Hanna from Massey Ferguson, Jessica Pollock from YFCU, YFCU president James Speers, UFU president Ivor Ferguson, James Purcell from YFCU and Shane Hanna
Pictured from left are: Nigel Hanna from Massey Ferguson, Jessica Pollock from YFCU, YFCU president James Speers, UFU president Ivor Ferguson, James Purcell from YFCU and Shane Hanna

The Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) is today (Saturday, January 26th) hosting its third, bi-annual, agri-conference at the La Mon Hotel and Country Club, Belfast.

The agri-conference, sponsored by Massey Ferguson and the Ulster Farmers’ Union, takes place at a time of tremendous change for agriculture in Northern Ireland.

John McCallister from YFCU/ UFCU (centre)

John McCallister from YFCU/ UFCU (centre)

However, with change comes great opportunity and today’s conference aims to encourage farmers to look to the future with optimism.

James Purcell, chair of YFCU Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, said: “As we approach a period of much uncertainty in the agriculture sector, never was there a greater opportunity for us to take time to learn, reflect and prosper. I hope that our array of influential speakers and host farms will inspire and encourage us to become more efficient and to maximise the potential from each of our farming enterprises.”

Titled ‘Shaping Our Agri-Culture’, the Agri-Conference will feature a range of workshops, presentations and farm visits to learn and ask questions about the future of agriculture. The day will begin with visits to three case study farms, John and Billy Martin’s Sheep production agri-business, Roger McCracken’s dairy farm and Neil Patterson’s Seaforde arable and poultry business.

Delegates will then return for an afternoon of workshops and presentations from a variety of speakers including;

Jim Freeburn from the Ulster Grassland Society

Jim Freeburn from the Ulster Grassland Society

Sean McAvoy, field technical manager from Massey Ferguson

We have all heard about Smart Farming, but how many of us understand what Smart Farming technologies can do and how to use them? Sean will explain how the integration of these advanced technologies into tractors can help us make better-informed decisions for our farms.

Jim Freeburn from the Ulster Grassland Society

This year the Ulster Grassland Society celebrates its Diamond Jubilee. Jim’s presentation seeks to provide information on the achievements of our top grassland farmers along with simple guidelines to assist young farmers to better understand the principles of grassland management to enable them to make better use of grass.

Sean McAvoy, Field Technical Manager from Massey Ferguson

Sean McAvoy, Field Technical Manager from Massey Ferguson

George Williamson and Dr Ryan Law from Dunbia

George will be discussing food safety and food marketing, utilising his experiences from working at Dunbia. Ryan will focus on tips for profitable beef production.

Land mobility, John McCallister from YFCU and the Ulster Farmers’ Union

John’s workshop will set out what Share Farming could look like and how options can be tailored to suit most situations and use case studies to highlight how successful the service can be.

Dr Ryan Law from Dunbia

Dr Ryan Law from Dunbia

George Williamson from Dunbia

George Williamson from Dunbia