SDLP Cusher representative EmmaJayne McKernan has welcomed DAERA’s study tour which offers dairy farmers the opportunity to travel to England to learn about large dairy herd management.
Ms McKernan said:
“I welcome the commitment of the department to continue to invest in the dairy sector through Farm Innovation Visits. Dairy farming and the consequent trade between the North and Britain contributes £400 million annually to the local economy, this is the second such trip in recent years and gives local farmers an insight into new technologies and practices that aren’t commonly used on the island.
“The study tour comes at a very uncertain time for the farming community, particularly dairy farmers as the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill makes its way through Westminster. The Dairy Council here has warned us of the threat posed by this bill to trade on the island and its proposal for a Dual Regulatory Regime. It is important that any renegotiation of the Protocol protects trade both north-south and east-west and any attempt to create a commercial border on the island of Ireland should be opposed.
“The continuation of Farm Innovation Visits during the current period is important and will ensure our farming community can learn from innovative practices beyond our shores. I will be writing to the Permanent Secretary for an update on future visits and to ask Katrina Godfrey to explore more inclusive opportunities for family run farms who will likely need greater supports in the future to ensure their viability."