STUDENTS on the second year of the BSc honours degree in Agricultural Technology, delivered in partnership by CAFRE and Queen’s University Belfast, embraced the opportunity to travel to Belgium to experience European farm production systems and learn more about policy changes which will affect EU agriculture after Brexit.
Visiting farms in Belgium underlined the importance of efficient production systems and the ability to add value through diversification. Examples included a range of innovative flavoured Gouda cheeses and the on-farm processing of oilseed rape into vinaigrettes and mayonnaise.
Discussions were held on the challenges of Brexit through meetings with Members of the European Parliament, representatives of the British Agriculture Bureau and the Irish Cooperative Organisational Society.
Possible changes to the future direction of CAP were discussed and how this may perhaps help inform some of the emerging ideas about the future direction of agricultural policies across the regions of the UK.
During the five days the busy programme also included a visit to the largest European vegetable co-op and auction site, Leuven University’s agricultural biotechnology unit, and an experimental crops facility.
Overall, the students spent a thoroughly enjoyable five days in Belgium and are better informed on the European political landscape.