FARMERS For Action join-
ed fellow activists in taking to the streets of Belfast for a climate change protest last week-end.
The event formed part of a global day of action aimed at increasing pressure on world leaders attending the COP26 conference on climate change in Glasgow.
William Taylor, FFA NI co-ordinator, was asked to be one of the speakers at the Belfast event, where he warned of a “code red” situation in the climate crisis and called on Stormont to enact the Northern Ireland Farm Welfare Bill to ensure farmers receive fairer farmgate prices while continuing to feed a growing population.
Hailing farmers as “unsung heroes” for continuing to pro-vide produce throughout the pandemic and in spite of climate challenges, he stated FFA’s three core issues – support for the Climate Coalition Bill, the need for a NI Farm Welfare Bill and opposition to the granting of petroleum licenses to oil and gas companies.
Mr Taylor said: “Our farmers have been noticing ever ch-anging weather patterns since the 1980s making farming increasingly difficult. In 1995 the first COP took place, at the same time tractors that run on bio-fuel were being produced.
“By 2008 a Northern Ireland arable farmer was running his tractors completely on oil seed rape oil only to be let down by Government not reducing the fuel tax. Today we have prototype tractors running on methane yet still no Government support.
“By 2015 our farmers in Northern Ireland are already moving to new climate friendly techniques around the farm yard, by 2020 with much more to do Covid-19 struck, many of our family farmers like everyone else had and have Covid-19 in their house – yet against the odds you all are getting fed, 365 with meat, vegetables, grain, and dairy.”
The FFA spokesman said he had been “humbled” when his speech met with cheers from the crowd in a show of appreciation for the Province’s farmers.
Continuing, he said: “However, our family farmers need the Northern Ireland Farm Welfare Bill at Stormont to be enacted to help them complete the job in the next 10 years as farmgate prices are a disgrace while you pay top dollar!
He added: “Support for the
Climate Coalition’s no non-sense Climate Change Bill is widespread in rural NI but must be supported by the NI Farm Welfare Bill which will ensure proper prices at the farmgate and end needless food miles in and to Northern Ireland.”