Belfast Telegraph

Balmoral Show 2018: Leading civil servant lauds 87% growth in farm incomes

By Richard Halleron

Output from Northern Ireland's farming and food industry amounted to £4.4bn in just one year with the sector underpinning 22,000 full-time jobs.

These figures, from 2016, are rising, with farm incomes increasing by 87% in 2017, a top civil servant said yesterday.

Belfast Telegraph promotional team members Lauren Rolston and Aoibheann McKinley during Day 2 of the Balmoral show on May 17th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Belfast Telegraph promotional team members Lauren Rolston and Aoibheann McKinley during Day 2 of the Balmoral show on May 17th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
The tug of war competition during Day 2 of the Balmoral show on May 17th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
The tug of war competition during Day 2 of the Balmoral show on May 17th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Anne Matthews and Betty Rodgers from A Blissful Blend pictured with Nick McCafferty Entrepreneur Development Apprentice at Ulster Bank. A Blissful Blend was one of the companies provided with free space by Ulster Bank to exhibit in its marquee. The companies include Ulster Bank customers and entrepreneurs from the bank's Entrepreneur Accelerator. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Ulster Bank has the NatWest Six Nations trophy at its stand over the duration of this yearÕs Balmoral Show. Visitors to the show today had the chance to have their photo taken with the trophy which Ireland claimed this year as part of their Grand Slam success. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Pig showing and judging at the show. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Ulster Bank has the NatWest Six Nations trophy at its stand over the duration of this yearÕs Balmoral Show. Visitors to the show today had the chance to have their photo taken with the trophy which Ireland claimed this year as part of their Grand Slam success. Pictured with the trophy are Ireland and Ulster captain Rory Best with Jack Francis from Crumlin. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Karen Bradley on Day 2 of the Balmoral show on May 17th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Karen Bradley on Day 2 of the Balmoral show on May 17th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Karen Bradley samples food at the Moy Park stand on Day 2 of the Balmoral show on May 17th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Karen Bradley on Day 2 of the Balmoral show on May 17th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. People queue to gain entry to the show which is celebrating its 150th anniversary (Jonathan Porter/PressEye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Ulster Bank's Henry the Hippo with Freya McMinn(2) and her sister Sofia(3). Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. People enjoy the entertainment as the 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Freestyle Motocross as the 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Freestyle Motocross as the 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Crowds enjoy the good weather as the 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Horse show jumping as the 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 DUP leader Arlene Foster pictured at the Balmoral Show event this afternoon. Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Horse showing as the 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. People enjoy the entertainment as the 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show at Balmoral Park. (Jonathan Porter/PressEye)
Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Cattle judging as the 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues (Jonathan Porter/PressEye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. The 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Cattle judging as the 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Cattle judging as the 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Horse showing jumping as the 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Horse showing as the 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Horse showing as the 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 17th May 2018 Second day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Horse showing as the 150th anniversary Balmoral Show continues. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

But Dennis McMahon, who is permanent secretary at the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), said this growth must be achieved against the backdrop of a living, working and active countryside.

Mr McMahon was the keynote speaker at the DAERA breakfast, which traditionally kick-starts day two of the Balmoral Show.

He added: "Farm incomes increased by 87% in 2017. This was a very positive and welcome development. For its part, DAERA secured a competitive allocation in the budget allocations for Northern Ireland's public sectors in 2018.

"This means that the department can fully commit to many of the rural development and farm capital projects that have been earmarked for local agriculture.

Mr McMahon admitted that Brexit represents a major challenge for the food and farming sectors.

"Uncertainty still abounds. However, DAERA officials are interacting with key influencers in London, Brussels and Dublin on this matter," he said.

"This level of interaction will be maintained over the coming months. We are also scoping out possible future support options for agriculture.

"Current funding levels are guaranteed until 2022. However, DAERA staff are actively working through a range of policy options that will best meet the needs of local farmers into the future."

Mr McMahon hailed the securing of new export markets as one of the great success stories notched up by the local food industry in the last couple of years.

"DAERA officials have played a key role in opening up the Chinese market to imports of pork from Northern Ireland," he said.

"And the same principle holds where the Australian market is concerned."

Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Four year old Anna McFeeters from Carryduff pictured at the show with a Kid goat.
Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Four year old Anna McFeeters from Carryduff pictured at the show with a Kid goat. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 16th May 2018-Picture by Brian Little/ PressEye Riverside Special School pupils Dexter project during the First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Horse Jumping at the Balmoral Show on Wednesday. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Horse Jumping at the Balmoral Show on Wednesday. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
HRH Princess Anne visits the Balmoral show today (Wednesday). While at the show she viewed an exhibition of the 150 years of the Balmoral show. she also presented an award to Show Judge Terence McKeag for his 50 years service at the show. Photo by Aaron McCracken

RUAS/No Repro Fee
HRH Princess Anne visits the Balmoral show today (Wednesday). While at the show she viewed an exhibition of the 150 years of the Balmoral show. she also presented an award to Show Judge Terence McKeag for his 50 years service at the show. Photo by Aaron McCracken

RUAS/No Repro Fee
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 16th May 2018-Picture by Brian Little/ PressEye Stunt Moto cross riders put off freestyle tricks during the First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Big Air Motocross Freestyle Jumps at the Balmoral Show. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Singer Derek Ryan pictured at the Balmoral Show on Wednesday. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 16th May 2018-Picture by Brian Little/ PressEye Riverside Special School pupils Stephen Millar and Matthew Bloomer Dexter project during the First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. A robotic robot entertains the crowds at the Balmoral Show. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Maurice Murphy and Azaria the goat. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Maurice Murphy and Azaria the goat. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Sarah 12,Rachael 10 and Richard 6 pictured with there sheep. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Jacqueline Baxter from Newtownstwert pictured with Reserve and Special Champion Heifer Beauty Hill Ferrari. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
Pacemaker Press Belfast: 16/5/2018: The Balmoral Show has begun with the first of four days of events to showcase food and farming in Northern Ireland. As well as a range of livestock classes, the event hosts hundreds of trade stands displaying everything from crafts to machinery. Michaela Rodgers from Carnlough. Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press.
REPRO FREE McAuley Multimedia 16/05/18 Marcia McNally, TechXpert at Ulster Bank meets Zeldan the Giant French Lop during day one of the 2018 Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank. Pic Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2018 First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Wolf and Woodsman's David Knowles, Andy Laverty and Jonny Laverty with Lynsey Cunningham Regional Director, Entrepreneurship at Ulster Bank. Wolf and Woodsman was one of the companies provided with free space by Ulster Bank to exhibit in its marquee. The companies include Ulster Bank customers and entrepreneurs from the bank's Entrepreneur Accelerator. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2018 First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Jenny Gregg and Lila Gregg from Craft Equestrian with Lynsey Cunningham Regional Director, Entrepreneurship at Ulster Bank. Craft Equestrian was one of the companies provided with free space by Ulster Bank to exhibit in its marquee. The companies include Ulster Bank customers and entrepreneurs from the bank's Entrepreneur Accelerator. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Jake McClurg (10) from Ballynahinch, who is showing sheep, pictured as the gates open for the 150th Balmoral show (Jonathan Porter/PressEye)
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 16th May 2018-Picture by Brian Little/ PressEye Allen McIntosh of Ulster Wool shows a fleece to school children at the Sheep Shearing competition on the First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
HRH Princess Anne visits the Balmoral Show today. Photo by Aaron McCracken RUAS/No Repro Fee
HRH Princess Anne visits the Balmoral Show today accompanied by RUAS president Cyril Millar and Chief Executive Alan Crowe (L). Photo by Aaron McCracken RUAS/No Repro Fee
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2018 First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Horse show jumping in the parade ring. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2018 First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Horse show jumping in the parade ring. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2018 First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Ulster Bank's Henry the Hippo pictured with Erin Gould(2) from ballygowan. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2018 First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Ulster Bank has the NatWest Six Nations trophy at its stand over the four days of this yearÕs Balmoral Show. Visitors to the show today had the chance to have their photo taken with the trophy which Ireland claimed this year as part of their Grand Slam success. Pictured with the trophy are Trevor Hanna and Peter Armstrong from Belfast. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2018 First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Ulster Bank has the NatWest Six Nations trophy at its stand over the four days of this yearÕs Balmoral Show. Visitors to the show today had the chance to have their photo taken with the trophy which Ireland claimed this year as part of their Grand Slam success. Pictured with the trophy are Miceal Doyle from Ballyward and his children Eoin(8), Clara(6) and Rose(3). Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2018 First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Ulster Bank has the NatWest Six Nations trophy at its stand over the four days of this yearÕs Balmoral Show. Visitors to the show today had the chance to have their photo taken with the trophy which Ireland claimed this year as part of their Grand Slam success. Pictured with the trophy is Ulster Bank Henry The Hippo Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Katherine Smart , aged 5 ,from Loughgall during the First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park (Brian Little/PressEye)
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 16th May 2018-Picture by Brian Little/ PressEye Conor Savage from Castlewellen preparing his Blondie cattle during the First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 16th May 2018-Picture by Brian Little/ PressEye Horse jumping competition starts on the First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 16th May 2018-Picture by Brian Little/ PressEye Max Jess aged 3 from Kilkeel looking at the tractors during the First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2018 First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Cattle showing in the parade ring. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2018 First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Cattle showing in the parade ring. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2018 First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Who jumping in the parade ring. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 16th May 2018 First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park. Cattle showing in the parade ring. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 16th May 2018-Picture by Brian Little/ PressEye Matthew Preston, aged 12, from Antrim showing his Dexter Cattle during the First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 16th May 2018-Picture by Brian Little/ PressEye Emma Allen from Loughgall showing her Limousin Bull during the First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 16th May 2018-Picture by Brian Little/ PressEye Martine McCann (left) and Alica McAuley with her Limousin Cattle during the First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 16th May 2018-Picture by Brian Little/ PressEye Hayden Tumelty from Dowpatrick with his Dexter cattle during the First day of the 2018 Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank, at Balmoral Park Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Rhonda Geary
15th May 2017 - Picture by Matt Mackey / PressEye.com Final preparations are under way for the 150th Balmoral Show.
15th May 2017 - Picture by Matt Mackey / PressEye.com Final preparations are under way for the 150th Balmoral Show. Andrea McKee from Killinchy along with her horse
15th May 2017 - Picture by Matt Mackey / PressEye.com Final preparations are under way for the 150th Balmoral Show. Emily Magowan from Killinchy and her horse Patrick.
15th May 2017 - Picture by Matt Mackey / PressEye.com Final preparations are under way for the 150th Balmoral Show.
15th May 2017 - Picture by Matt Mackey / PressEye.com Final preparations are under way for the 150th Balmoral Show. Emily Magowan from Killinchy and her horse Patrick.
15th May 2017 - Picture by Matt Mackey / PressEye.com Final preparations are under way for the 150th Balmoral Show.

Mr McMahon confirmed that his staff, in tandem with officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in London, had helped secure a total 184 new export market opportunities for food companies in Northern Ireland.

He also referenced the growing use of digital technology within the farming sector.

"For the first time we have received a 100% digital uptake, regarding applications submitted for the Single Farm Payment support system," he added.

"However, we are also seeing the much greater use of digital technology across the broad spectrum of farming and food activity carried out here in Northern Ireland.

But Mr McMahon also made it very clear that farmers must face up to the greater environmental challenges that are coming down the track.

"Reducing ammonia emissions is a case in point," he stressed.

"Local farmers have a very strong track record of adapting successfully to changing circumstances. And, no doubt, this will continue to be the case as we look to the future."

Belfast Telegraph

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