Exciting farm visits will set the scene for YFCU’s 2019 agriculture conference

CONFERENCE WALK RI Farm
chat: Discussing the upcoming farm visit, which will be part of the morning session at the YFCU agricultural conference on Saturday, January 26 are Neill Patterson, host farmer Seaforde and the YFCU’s Corrina Fleming.

VISITS to a selection of Northern Ireland’s leading farms have always been an in-tegral part of the agri-

cultural conferences hosted by the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU). And this year will be no different.

The 2019 conference, which will take place on Saturday, January 26, has been entitled ‘Shaping Our Agri Culture’. The event will be centred on the La Mon House Hotel near Comber in County Down. It will be kick-started with three exciting farm visits, reflecting the latest developments tak-ing place within the sheep, dairy, arable and poultry sectors.

The dairy visit will be hosted by the McCracken family, who farm close to Ballywalter on the Ards’ Peninsula. Owners of the Whitechurch Holstein herd, they milk 150 cows and were the winners of the ‘Promar Dairy Farmer of the Year’ competition in 2017. The cows are currently averaging 8,800L at 4.3 per cent butterfat and 3.4 per cent protein. Making optimal use of forages and concentrates will be the focus of the farm visit.

Neill Patterson farms in partnership with Allan Ch-ambers at Seaforde in County Down. Extensive arable and broiler chicken operations are at the heart of their Cottage Farm business. The farm visit will allow Neill and Allan to explain their ground-breaking farm succession agreement. Visitors will have the opportunity to walk a selection of winter crops, all of which are looking particularly well at the present time. Neill will also discuss the detail of the farm’s 75,000 broiler chicken business. The litter produced from this operation provides all the organic manure re-

quired for the arable enter-prise.

Buses will leave for the various farm visits shortly after registration, which ta-kes place between 9am and 9.30am. Delegates will return to the La Mon for lunch at 12.30pm.

The conference is a day-long event, comprising a mix of formal presentations, workshops and farm visits. Proceedings will culminate with a conference dinner on the Saturday evening.

“The event takes place at a time of tremendous change for agriculture in Northern Ireland,” said James Purcell, chair of the YFCU agriculture and rural affairs committee.

“But with change comes opportunity. And it is this driver which will form the backdrop to the event.

“We want to enthuse and excite delegates about the tremendous prospects that

exist as they plan the future of their own farming and related businesses. Regard-less of sector, the event has something to offer every agribusiness plus farmers of all ages.”

James continued: “Our con-ference is an event which will provide speakers with an opportunity to address all of the key drivers for farming moving forwards: market pro-spects, the future support needs of the industry and the absolute necessity to improve technical efficiency levels at farm level.

“As a result, it will resonate with farmers and stakeholder representatives of all ages.”

Alan Jagoe will give the keynote address at the con-ference. He is the current Vice Chairman of Agri Aware and a former President of Macra na Feirme

James Purcell concluded: “I feel that all areas of this educational and enlightening day will give everyone att-

ending a great deal of inspiration to face a new year and a new era in the agricultural world.”

The conference fee, which includes lunch and dinner, is £35 per head for YFCU members; £45 for Ulster Farmers’ Union members and £55 for non-members.

n To book a place and for further information contact

conference organiser Corrina

Fleming on (028) 90 9037

0713; email: corrina.fleming@yfcu.org

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