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DUP will look after farmers during Brexit, says Foster

By Richard Halleron

Published 04/08/2016

First Minister Arlene Foster and Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen chat with Iain McLean from Bushmills
First Minister Arlene Foster and Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen chat with Iain McLean from Bushmills
Judge Claire Swale
Competitor David Connolly
Ruth McIlroy with her champion Blonde

Having a DUP minister at the helm of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs is very important for farming in Northern Ireland, given the upcoming Brexit negotiations, Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster has said.

Speaking during a visit to the Fermanagh Show yesterday, Mrs Foster said her party is keen to forge the "strongest possible relationship with Defra and all of the government departments in London".

"This is something that may well not have happened had Sinn Fein taken the agricultural portfolio in the new Executive," she added.

"The Executive is totally committed to the cause of farming and food in Northern Ireland. And, as a party, the DUP actively sought to secure ministerial responsibility for farming, food and the environment in the new Executive."

Where Brexit is concerned, Mrs Foster believes that a deal can be secured that will allow Northern Ireland to continue trading with the Republic and the rest of the EU in a meaningful and positive manner.

"Already I have met with a number of Whitehall ministers, including David Davis and Liam Fox, both of whom will be directly involved in the Brexit negotiations. "Liam Fox is very aware of just how important agriculture is to the local economy," she said.

Meanwhile, Bushmills dairy farmer Iain McLean was having another successful day in the show rings.

He won Fermanagh's dairy interbreed championship with his Holstein cow Priestland James Rose. Judge Claire Swale, from Lancashire, described her champion as an excellent example of the Holstein breed, adding:

"She has tremendous strength and an equally impressive mammary system. The fact that the cow calved 10 months ago, and still looks so fresh, is testimony to her overall dairy character."

It has been a tremendous summer for the McLean family. They won a total of 14 breed titles and four interbreed accolades.

Also enjoying the summer months of 2016 are the members of the Hazelton family, from Dungannon. Their two-year-old heifer, Ranfurly Lady Diana 24th, won the Simmental Cow of the Year title at Fermanagh.

The Connolly family from Ballynahinch, won the Northern Ireland Shows Association heifer of the year final with their eye-catching Brigadoon Jemma (2).

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