The recent statement by the British Minister of Agriculture on expansion in farming and import saving was described last week as “a milestone in agriculture” by Mr W H Gilliland, general secretary of the Ulster Farmers’ Union.
Mr Gilliland, who was proposing the toast “Ulster Agriculture,” at the annual dinner of the Antrim county committee of the Farmers’ Union in Ballymena said this might mean a real change in attitude of the British Government towards preserving the home market for the home producer.
To achieve the big saving in imports which the Minister was aiming at farmers needed two things – stability and confidence, and prices which were high enough and a little over to cover the risks in expansion.
The problem of the regulation of imports was one entirely within the power of the Government. They would be looking forward to the forthcoming prices review with greater interest than ever.
Before they came to the review however, they would require to know the Government’s attitude as to the regulation of imports.
Mr James Jordan, president of the Farmers’ Union, responded to the toast and also referred to the importance of adequate prices for the produce which was coming from the farms.
More than 200 members of the union and friends attended the dinner. Other speakers were Mr Wallace Petty, Ahoghill, and Rev W L McComb, of Moira.
Mrs Gertrude Linton, Lisburn, chairman of the county committee, presided, and tribute was paid to the work of Mr John Frew, who has organised the event for many years.