The Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association (NIGTA) has confirmed the appointment of Gill Gallagher as its new chief executive, succeeding Robin Irvine.

Irvine will continue working with NIGTA until the end of the year and thereafter will remain responsible for the management of the Food Fortress programme.

With a background in agriculture and environmental policy, Gallagher has spent most of her career in the agri-food industry, having graduated from Queens University Belfast (QUB) with a law degree and masters in environmental law and sustainable development.

Gallagher was previously a policy officer in the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) and also worked for Mash Direct as a marketing executive, before taking up a post with Devenish Nutrition as sustainable agriculture manager.

During her time with Devenish, she worked closely with NIGTA, supporting and representing the association on environmental and sustainability matters, as well as helping to deliver environmental training to feed advisers across Northern Ireland through the Feed Adviser Register (FAR) programme. NIGTA’s president, Niall O’Donnell, said: “We are delighted to welcome Gill as the new chief executive of NIGTA.  She has a strong background in the industry and particularly in the area of sustainability.
This is a high priority for our members, and we are committed to playing our part in reducing the environmental impact of livestock production.
“Prior to joining NIGTA as CEO, Gill was actively involved in delivering our Feed Adviser Register training programme to feed advisers across the province, equipping them with knowledge on best practice to guide farmers in how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient losses on farm," he added.
Her knowledge and expertise in this field will be key to tackling the challenges that lie ahead for our industry, particularly on our journey towards net zero carbon.
“I would also like to thank Robin Irvine for his outstanding contribution to NIGTA over the past nine years. He has expertly steered the industry through various challenges and has enabled the association to grow from strength to strength."

Grain Trade Association Food Fortress scheme

Robin Irvine worked closely with the Institute of Global Food Security at QUB to establish the Food Fortress surveillance programme, which now covers six million tonnes of feed production per year.
We are pleased that he will continue as the director of the programme and will lead the further development of the Food Fortress network," O'Donnell added.
Gill Gallagher said: “As the first link in the food chain and the hub of our local agricultural supply trade, NIGTA plays an invaluable role in our agri-food industry, which has shown profound resilience in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst also managing new trading arrangements under the Northern Ireland Protocol. “I look forward to working with our members, industry stakeholders and government in future trade discussions and to continuing efforts to improve the environmental footprint of livestock production and protect the integrity of the supply chain," she concluded.