Farmers for Action (FFA) has welcomed the election of a Labour government at Westminster as, potentially, a good news story for farmers.

The farming lobby organisation has claimed that the new administration could introduce a fair pricing policy for farmers across the UK.

FFA spokesman, William Taylor indicated that moves to boost the farming sector could underpin growth across the UK economy as a whole.

Meanwhile, the priority for the organisation will be to get its proposed Farm Welfare Bill on the statute book in Northern Ireland.

“We have been asked by the Stormont agriculture committee to secure the support of stakeholders across the farming, food and other sectors of the economy for our bill.

“We will be working on this matter as a matter of priority over the coming weeks,” Taylor said.

The Farm Welfare Bill has been designed to deliver farmgate prices that take full account of all input costs, while also generating an additional margin for farm businesses – thereby allowing them to invest in their futures.

“Leaving these issues to the private sector is no longer an option. The current state of farmgate milk prices in the UK is a case in point.

“Returns to dairy farmers in Northern Ireland are well below those available in the rest of the UK. This should not be happening,” the FFA spokesperson added.

Taylor has also confirmed that Northern Ireland Farm Groups has asked for a meeting with Northern Ireland’s new secretary of state, Hilary Benn.


The umbrella body represents a number of stakeholder groups operating across agriculture in Northern Ireland, one of which is FFA.

Taylor believes that a meeting with the secretary of state will provide an opportunity for discussion on those issues which get to the heart of the problems facing agriculture in Northern Ireland at the present time.

Specifically, he wants to see the farm support budgets available in Northern Ireland doubled, adding: “Farm support budgets have not been changed since 2003 – that’s 20 years ago.

“If one factors in the impact of inflation over the subsequent two decades, this brings the farm budget for Northern Ireland up to £600 million on an annual basis.

“It is also critically important that all future farm support budgets are inflation proofed.”

In addition, Taylor wants to see food security put firmly on the agenda as a key debating point across the UK.

“Food security and climate change are the biggest challenges facing society as a whole today. Both issues are joined at the hip from a production agriculture and food perspective.

“Making this a reality will require two things: farmers to be adequately supported by government with primary producers also receiving prices that take full account of their production costs.

“Farmers must have the opportunity to develop a margin within their businesses, which allows them to invest for the future,” he said.