UFU Says Farmers Should Support Each Other

UFU encourages farmers to support one another

UFU encourages farmers to support one another

With everyone feeling the financial pressure due to the cost-of-living crisis, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is encouraging all farmers to support each other and buy local.

Arable farmers continue to step up to the many varied challenges when growing their crops to the highest standard for an ever-demanding market.

Internal support from others in the agri industry is key to sustaining the arable sector. It will also help to ensure consumer confidence in the local product(s) they are purchasing.

UFU seeds and cereals chairman Mark McCollum said: “Harvest is coming to an end now and this year has been one of many challenges from the rising cost of energy and fertiliser to extreme weather conditions.

“However, as always, our farmers have risen to the challenge producing quality assured grain and proteins for the market.

The UFU is encouraging farmers to talk within their different sectors to avoid increasing costs and the need to import foodstuffs.

“Now they need the support of everyone in the agriculture industry, farmers and millers, as well as consumers, to buy local and help sustain the arable sector through the winter months that lie ahead.

“There is a demand from consumers to know the origins of products and purchasing local Farm Quality Assured grain strengthens the appeal of a local product.

“Northern Ireland (NI) arable farmers produce grain to the highest standards, and it is fully traceable, two key aspects which are needed to secure consumer confidence in a product. Buying local grain has benefits for everyone in the food chain.

“There is also plenty of good quality straw available this year and we encourage our livestock farmers to enquire about what is on their doorstep before importing.”

Across NI, climate and soil conditions differ and to achieve the best grain and proteins, growers have to protect their crop in a way that is environmentally friendly.

Mark McCollum added: “Plant protection products are used by arable farmers to support the production of high-quality safe grains and proteins for the food chain, but only when absolutely necessary.

Combining the crop for a good harvest.

“Where the crop is being produced is a big factor. Growing grain in North Derry is completely different to producing it in South Armagh so a variety of choices are available to suit all regions.”

Communication is key for any industry and can help increase support for local production. 

Mark said: “I encourage all farmers to help and support each other in these uncertain times. If you need grain, straw or another local product, have a chat with a grower in your local area, you will be pleasantly surprised by what can be supplied on your own doorstep.

“We just need to reach out and ask others before going down other avenues that are further afield.

“Within the farming industry, we need to improve our communication with each other, a simple chat can make all the difference to the supply chain as we often discover there is so much on offer at home than we first assumed.

“Keeping everything as local as possible makes the food production process more efficient and sustainable, will shorten the farm to fork journey as well as strengthening our local food security having a knock-on effect on the rural economy,” said Mr McCollum.