A bill lobbying to support high-welfare farming systems with fair prices is set to be discussed by members of Stormont’s Agriculture Committee.

The Farm Welfare Bill has been drafted by NI Farm Groups – an umbrella body which consists of Farmers For Action, the National Beef Association, Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers’ Association (NIAPA) and the Northern Ireland Livestock and Auctioneers’ Association (NILAA).

MLAs agreed to invite NI Farm Groups to present the bill to the committee.

Speaking on behalf of the group, William Taylor told AgriLand he was hoping the could be bill adopted as emergency legislation.

“Our farmers are working 24/7 to fed the nation and were already being in a bad place with farm incomes before Covid-19 and Brexit,” he said.

Now we have a situation where farmers are walking on eggshells, with the majority having no financial reserves.

“When they or their families get hit with Covid-19 they have to call on and pay for professional farm help. In addition, the Brexit impact since January 1 is now increasing on-farm costs daily.

“Understandably during this time, everyone is focused on the NHS and the difficulties it is facing, but Covid has put a lot of farming families under extreme pressure while they work to deliver the nation’s food.”