Northern Ireland Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots, has met with Agriculture Ministers and Farming Union presidents from the devolved regions of the UK to discuss the development of the future agricultural policy.

The virtual meeting was attended by Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales and Trefnydd; Mairi Gougeon MSP Cabinet Secretary for Rural affairs and Islands Scottish Government; Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) president Victor Chestnutt and CEO Wesley Aston; National Farmer' Union (NFU) president Minette Batters and director general Terry Jones; NFU Wales president John Davies and director John Mercer; NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy and CEO Scott Walker (CEO NFU Scotland).

The meeting discussed climate change, environmental issues, carbon capture, efficiency payments and productivity, according to Poots.

“This was an extremely useful meeting to discuss how the devolved regions of the UK can play their part in mapping out the future of our respective agriculture sectors, whilst at the same time, being mindful of the environmental and climate concerns we are all well aware of," the Northern Ireland minister said.

"I outlined the Future Agricultural Policy Framework Portfolio for Northern Ireland, which maps out a direction of travel to guide funding decisions and priorities over the coming years and ensure a coherent and progressive approach to farm support within that timeframe.

“The Framework is set around four key outcomes developed following engagement with stakeholders - increased productivity, environmental sustainability, improved resilience and an effective functioning supply chain.”

Northern Ireland’s Future Agricultural Policy Proposals are currently out for consultation and will finish on February 15.

“There is a lot of commonality across the three devolved administrations, but there are of course some differences in our approaches to agriculture and environment policies, and in Northern Ireland’s case, that is due to our unique landscape and the fact that we are an exporting region," he continued.

"However, I believe we can learn a lot from each other and it is vital that we continue to engage to ensure we can all play our part to make the agriculture sector more efficient, productive, profitable and sustainable.”