The public consultation period on the Future Agricultural Policy for Northern Ireland will close in the coming days.

Northern Ireland Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots has described it as "the most important agricultural consultation in a generation" and said that "it’s vital that those with an interest have their say".

"This is the first time in 50 years that we have been able to redefine how our agriculture sector operates and ensure targeted delivery of programmes and funding that best meet all our needs," Poots stated.

"The proposals provide a fresh vision for a future agricultural regime that promotes productive, efficient practices through greater innovation and capacity, whilst protecting the environment, animal health and welfare, and public health," the minister added.

Future Agricultural Policy

Minister Poots explained that the new policy is based on "increased productivity; environmental sustainability; improved resilience; and an effective functioning supply chain".

The minister outlined the following main proposals, which he said are central to this strategy:

  • An area-based resilience payment, which will "not blunt innovation or productivity";
  • A headage sustainability package to support suckler and finished beef cattle producers;
  • A Farming for Nature package to maintain and improve biodiversity on farms;
  • Carbon farming measures.

Submissions on the new policy can be made until next Tuesday, February 15, on the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs website.

Views are welcome from all sectors, age-groups, organisations and individuals.

“We want to hear from people with an interest in agriculture, the environment, rural affairs or food production.

“Consultation responses will be used to inform the development of agricultural policy to develop a future sustainable agricultural industry," Poots concluded.