Rank and file farmers support UFU policy priorities

Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) president Victor Chestnutt has confirmed that the broad swathe of farmers in Northern Ireland fully support the organisation’s policy priorities at the present time.

These include the securing of sustainable producer prices, the establishment of climate change priorities that reflect the positive impact that agriculture can have, where this matter is concerned, and the securing of effective agreements on future support policies.

Speaking on day two of Balmoral Show, Chestnutt also highlighted the significance of the event as a shop window for farming and food in Northern Ireland.

Balmoral Show provides UFU office bearers with a wonderful opportunity to catch up with individual members. However, it also provides unique opportunities to meet with political representatives,” he said.

Courtesy of the show it’s possible to get as much business done in a couple of days that would take a couple of weeks otherwise.”

“It brings things to a head: it brings politicians out, which gives the union team an opportunity to interface with them on our stand.”

According to Chestnutt, opportunities abound for agriculture in Northern Ireland. But there are a number of short term issues that must be actively addressed.

“Shortage of labour is a critically important challenge on many farms at the present time,” he said.

“We have just had a pig farmers on our Balmoral stand, who cannot get the workers he needs to keep his business going.

And there is an increasing number of farmers across Northern Ireland in a similar position. We will be taking this specific matter up with farm minister Edwin Poots as a matter of priority.”

The Union president believes that consumers are thinking of farmers more now than would have ever been the case up to this point.

“Shops are now starting to run short of many staple food items,” he added.

“There is a growing demand for food: there is a growing need for food. Farming and food programmes have never been more popular on television.

This is tremendous news for farmers.”

“This is a very important juncture for farming. New agricultural policy is about to be set. The Union is actively involved in this matter,” Chestnutt concluded.

“Upcoming policy negotiations will set the scene for the next 25 to 50 years. Overall farming is in good shape. We do have issues but we are working through them.”