Guest speakers unveiled for UFU ‘drive-in’ AGM

Northern Ireland Minister of Agriculture Edwin Poots and DAERA Committee chairman Declan McAleer have been confirmed as guest speakers for the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) ‘drive-in’ AGM.

The meeting is set to take place on Saturday, July 25 at the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Balmoral Park, Lisburn.

UFU chief executive Wesley Aston said: “Following agreement by our Executive Committee, this year’s AGM will be a socially distanced drive-in and it will be the first time in several years that a locally-elected Agriculture Minister and an NI Assembly Agriculture Committee chairman, will be attending as guest speakers.

“We are delighted that both DAERA Minister Edwin Poots and the committee chairperson Declan McAleer, can come along on the day.

“Their addresses will be of great interest to our members and they will be able to take part in the question and answer session.

Our Northern Ireland farming industry is facing huge challenges with the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, and it is important that our members get the opportunity to hear from these two key figures in the local agri-food industry and can put their questions directly to them.

“The drive-in will be in keeping with both the UFU’s constitution and rules, and the NI Executive’s ‘unlocking’ strategy.

“This approach guarantees the essential election of a new president and gives Victor Chestnutt the platform to set out his plans for the critical period ahead for the farming and wider agri-food industry.

“Our membership will also be able to publicly thank our outgoing president Ivor Ferguson, for his contribution and dedication to the position which was extended for three months due to the Covid-19 outbreak, following a very tough two-year term.”

Virtual streaming

The AGM will also be streamed digitally online for those who are not able to attend because of health concerns.

“While our AGM will be adhering to strict Covid-19 protocols and those medically shielding can attend in line with updated guidance from the NI Executive, we understand that some of our council members may not wish to attend due to medical concerns,” Aston added.

“To accommodate this, we will be making a special provision for an alternative virtual method so that those who cannot be there in person can still watch and participate from their home.”