Agri Minister visits UFU president’s farm
Ulster Farmers’ Union president Victor Chestnutt, alongside his deputy presidents David Brown and William Irvine, welcomed Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots onto his home farm in Bushmills Co. Antrim – to see first-hand some of the range of positive environmental measures that we, like many farming families across Northern Ireland (NI), have put in place over the years.
Mr Chestnutt said, “We were delighted to have the Agriculture Minister out on our family farm earlier in the week. I have always been a supporter of incorporating environmental measures onto the farm business and encourage other farmers to do the same if and where they can. I am a member of my local Environmental Business Development Group facilitated by CAFRE and have taken advantage of the Small Woodland Grant Scheme, the Environmental Farming Scheme and the Farm Business Improvement Scheme. All of which have proved to be very beneficial for the environment, wildlife and biodiversity as well as the farm business – we’re very happy to see the return of the Irish hare on the farm.”
Running a beef and sheep enterprise with the help of wife Carol and with son David managing a dairy unit, livestock is at the core of the Chestnutt’s farm business, but like all NI farmers, they are eager to combat environmental challenges within the farming industry.
“We are very opened minded when it comes to introducing new systems and approaches onto the farm that will have a positive impact on the environment. To date, we have put in a range of measures to contribute to meeting these challenges, including solar panels, heat exchangers and low emission slurry spreading. These can all help to reduce costs, but other important measures such as planting trees, hedges and protecting water quality come at a price and farmers need to be adequately and flexibly supported to deliver these,” said Mr Chestnutt.