Saturday, 22 September 2012

At last some good news for local agriculture

TWO events helped lift the gloom that has been settling over agriculture in Northern Ireland for the past twelve months or so – and they both happened on the same day.

One was the welcome lift in prices recorded at the September milk auction: the other was the arrival of Farm Commissioner Dacian Ciolos for a whistle stop visit to these shores.

The ‘Man from Brussels’ jetted in to Northern Ireland almost a year to the day after the publication of his CAP reform proposals. The initial reaction to the Commission’s ideas was downright hostile in this part of the world. The early months of this year were marked by hectic activity on the part of Michelle O’Neill, her officials, the UFU leadership team and that organisation’s staff, all striving to come up with a response that best met the needs of agriculture in Northern Ireland.

The document that was finally agreed upon highlighted two core issues: the need for a strong CAP budget and the absolute necessity of having sufficient flexibility to introduce support measures that meet the specific needs of local farmers. So wasn’t it grand that Commissioner Ciolos felt compelled to announce at Greenmount College that he was up for a deal which embodied both principles!

Meanwhile, over at Dale Farm House in Belfast, the great and the good of the dairy processing sector had succeeded in lifting the September auction price to 28.9 pence. This very welcome development, although widely anticipated beforehand, will be regarded as a much needed boost by every dairy farmer in Northern Ireland.

Let’s hope that the lift in market prices recorded over the past number of months can be sustained during the period ahead. Local milk producers will need every penny that they can get, as they face up to what is likely to be one of the most expensive winter feeding seasons that has ever been endured in this part of the world.


Original Article Here

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