Byrne demands fair payment for farmers
Speaking at the SDLP party conference the West Tyrone MLA warned of a decline in the sector if practical steps are not taken:
“The current situation in farming, particularly in the beef and dairy sectors threatens the viability and sustainability of family farming. Family farming acts as the backbone of our agri-industry worth £4.5 billion gross in 2013.
“Despite direct payments from Europe, the farmer is not profitable in the beef and dairy milk sectors but the beef processor and big retailers are enjoying healthy profit margins.
“There needs to be a targeted suckler cow/calf premium subsidy in order for Northern Ireland to retain its family farm enterprise structure. Action is also required in the form of Intervention Private Storage schemes and EU export grants for dairy products.
“I call on the delegates of this conference to get proactive in dealing with our farming issues that need fixing.”