Livestock Central to Northern Ireland's Economy

UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union has given its reaction to provisional farm income statistics published by DARD.
calendar icon 30 January 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

Ulster Farmers’ Union President Graham Furey said; "Agricultural incomes fell by 5.5% in real terms in 2008, reflecting a very turbulent farming year. 2008 was a very frustrating year for most farmers because better farm gate prices during the year for many commodities were offset by a dramatic increase in farm costs, particularly feed, fuel and fertilizer. The persistent wet weather conditions also severely hampered harvesting on farms across Northern Ireland and the general feeling among farmers is that 2008 was a year to forget".

The UFU said the publication of the statistics had highlighted the significance of agriculture to the local economy. Graham Furey said; "The livestock sector alone contributed £1.12 Billion to agricultural gross output in 2008, a very significant contributor to revenue creation in the local economy".

Graham Furey added; "The message from these income figures is that the agriculture sector continues to go through very challenging times, but is also central to the well being of the wider economy which is also enduring very difficult circumstances. It highlights the ongoing need for strong and supportive measures from the Stormont Executive to assist the industry to meet the many challenges of the modern food supply chain".

Looking to the year ahead Graham Furey said; "If currency exchange rates remain in our favour, weather conditions improve and costs fall back to more realistic levels, then farmers will be hoping for an improvement in incomes in 2009. However some of our sectors, notably the dairy industry, remain in a very difficult position with production costs far exceeding the farm gate price being received for our produce".

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