THE Land Mobility Programme, la-unched jointly by the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) and the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) 12 months ago, is continuing to break new ground in helping to allow farmers and landowners of all ages identify new ways to make better use of Northern Ireland’s land-based resources.
According to John McCallister, the man in charge of the initiative, the programme’s data base now exceeds 200 names.
“We have also secured a total of 15 new, long-term farm business agreements,” he explained. “These include leasing arrangements, share farming initiatives and succession planning agreements. There is tremendous scope to build on all of this for the future.”
DAERA funded, the initial Land Mobility Programme will have a two-year lifespan.
“The good news is that the project is delivering on its potential,” confirmed YFCU President James Speers.
“It supports the clear desire of our members to bring innovation to the farming industry across Northern Ireland to develop more productive methods of land use.
“A move away from conacre to longer term land use arrangements has long been identified as a crucial development in helping to improve farm productivity in Northern Ireland while, at the same time, giving younger farmers an opportunity to get their foot on the ladder of a fulfilling career within production agriculture.”
John McCallister continued: “As pro-ject manager I am responsible for the promotion of land and enterprise mobility, through collective arrangements such as partnerships, shared farming agreements and leases between younger farmers and older landowners.
“Both the YFCU and UFU are confident this scheme will benefit both older and younger farming generations by matching people to opportunities.”
Looking ahead, John confirmed that he will be hosting a series of land mobility clinics in UFU group offices across Northern Ireland over the coming weeks.
“We are putting the finishing touches to these plans at the present time. Full details of the final schedules will be put out into the public domain, so as to provide those wishing to attend with ample opportunity of making the required arrangements.”
UFU Policy and Technical Manager James McCluggage confirmed that the Land Mobility Programme has a crucial role to play at the very heart of the farming industry In Northern Ireland.
“We are expecting key changes in the way government policy is driven for agriculture,” he said.
“Hopefully, these will allow the programme to have an even greater impact at farm level as we look to the future.”