Farm support budget should surpass £400m

At the recent Balmoral Show, William Irvine, President of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), emphasized three key points for the agricultural industry in Northern Ireland.

Firstly, Irvine highlighted the pressing need for an increase in the farm support budget, which has remained stagnant at £329 million since 2007. He stressed the importance of raising this budget to over £400 million to account for inflation and adequately support farmers in the region. Meetings with the Minister for Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs have been held to address this issue.

Secondly, Irvine raised concerns about the transfer of decision-making powers regarding bovine tuberculosis (bTB) to the office of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. He advocated for bTB control to remain under the jurisdiction of Andrew Muir, emphasizing the importance of a realistic eradication policy.

Lastly, Irvine called for a review of regulations on ammonia emissions from livestock farms. He emphasized the need for practical solutions and support for farmers to implement new technologies to tackle this issue, citing the high costs involved. The UFU president proposed allowing farmers to upgrade or replace buildings with more ammonia-efficient structures as a way forward.

In conclusion, Irvine’s messages at the Balmoral Show underscore the urgency of addressing key issues in agriculture, including farm support funding, bTB control, and ammonia emissions, to ensure a sustainable future for Northern Ireland’s farming community.

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