UFU delegates attended NFU conference

Thursday, 27 February, 2020

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) president Ivor Ferguson says this year will be the most important for food and farming in living memory. Farmers are up for the challenge but must not be undermined by food imports which would be illegal if produced in the UK.

Mr Ferguson’s comments were made following the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) conference at the ICC in Birmingham this week, which saw UK Defra Minister George Eustice MP, addressing those in attendance as well as online viewers.  

“A powerful message from the conference is that there must be an end to the victimization by some activists against our livestock sector. People need to remember that at the heart of every farming business is a family. The farming industry continues to face misleading claims or just plain wrong information about the food we produce. We have a world-class food industry and farm to the highest animal welfare and environmental standards. Everyone, including the media at the conference, were urged to stop and think about the real-life consequences of their actions and words,” said Mr Ferguson.

Education was another aspect of the event that highlighted how we should be developing a greater link between science and farming. The UFU president said, “A very informative and constructive session took place on how we educate and inspire our nation’s schoolchildren to not only better understand agriculture and food production, but also how to get them involved and become part of this very important industry.”

The UFU is also encouraged by discussions on how UK farmers are part of the climate change solution. It emerged from the conference that UK farmers can fulfil environmental aspirations and increase high-standard food production if the appropriate long-term policy framework is in place. 

Defra Secretary of State George Eustice MP, discussed the importance of food standards during the political session at the conference. “It was good to hear the Secretary of State George Eustice acknowledge the importance of food standards. He is determined that there will be a prosperous future for UK agriculture, and he hopes to introduce new powers to improve fairness and transparency in the supply chain. However, the Secretary of State did not state how government will honour the commitment to safeguard our food safety, environmental and animal welfare standards which is a major issue,” said the UFU president.