A new support scheme worth £2 million for local pig farmers in Northern Ireland has been announced today (Friday, March 11) by Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots.

The scheme is targeted at pig farmers who have been financially impacted by the effects of weakening markets, increased feed costs and getting pigs moved off the farm for slaughter.

It will make payments to those pig producers who incurred price penalties on pigs that were outside contract specifications from September 2021 to February 2022.

Eligible pig producers will be invited to apply through the Online Services portal on the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) website when the scheme opens in April.

Announcing the scheme, Minister Poots said:

“I am very aware of the challenges pig producers have faced in recent months and I am convinced that the sector needs emergency financial support at this time.

"I therefore intend to direct my Permanent Secretary to deliver a support scheme that will target those farmers who have been impacted most.

“Many of the issues are due to factors outside the farmers control such as international supply and demand, labour availability in the processing sector, and repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic," he continued.

"This package will assist producers in the short term but industry must work together and adjust to market signals for the longer term.”