Farmers must Brexit-proof their businesses, according to Ulster Farmers’ Union President Barclay Bell.

“We don’t know yet how the final Brexit deal will work out. But it will present challenges, as well as opportunities.

“Our primary objective is to secure the equivalent level of funding for agriculture moving forward, as is currently the case.

“Subsequent to this being achieved, we can discuss the way by which the support funding can be distributed,” Bell said at the first day of this year’s Balmoral Show.

But the UFU President did confirm that Whitehall will push for major changes in the funding models that will be implemented for agriculture in the UK beyond 2020.

“And this is why it is so important for farmers to ensure that they can tweak their business model in order to cope with all eventualities,” he said.

With the upcoming UK general election in mind, Bell is also calling on politicians to back farming.

“Farming matters. It is a cornerstone of our economy, instrumental in managing our countryside and at the heart of our rural communities.

Shoppers want to buy local food that is world-renowned for being safe, affordable and high quality. And we want to deliver it.

“Brexit is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the future of UK agriculture.

“We have a vision for a progressive, profitable, productive farming sector and we want to work with the new UK government to help us realise it.

“There are further opportunities for our industry and with the right support we believe we can deliver more.