In a statement, Sinclair explained that since becoming president of the union last April, several issues “dominated the Union’s” agenda. He said: “Unfortunately we have gone through a period when there have been many tragedies on our farms. All those farmers and their families are in our thoughts, especially at this time of year, and I would ask every UFU member to give farm safety serious consideration – if there is anything you can do to make your farm safer, then take the time to do it in 2013.”
Of the issues in 2012, he said farm gate prices were “central” and that several years of soaring global demand had increased prices in many of Ireland’s sectors. He said 2012 was a more difficult year, “compounded by persistent bad weather and the rising costs of animal feed”.
“Regrettably the food chain again failed to work under these circumstances, with supermarkets and processors ignoring farmers’ rising costs of production,” he added. “It remains a fundamental issue for the UFU to create a food chain that delivers a fair price for farmers. We hope the introduction of the UK Supermarket Adjudicator will have a positive impact.”
Sinclair also said CAP reform had taken a lot of the Union’s time and that the UFU’s policy committees had put in “countless hours” of discussion and analysis into proposals surrounding this issue. Of this time and effort he said, “I want to thank everyone for their efforts. We all want a good outcome for Northern Ireland, with the single farm payment budget secured and simplification introduced.”
The union is now lobbying EU Parliament, as well as the EU Commission and the EU Farm Council, at “every opportunity” to get the views of its members across where the CAP reform is concerned, he added, saying, “Decisions made in the coming months during the Irish Presidency of the EU, will shape the policy framework for our farms for the next seven years, so now is the time to get it right and agree a policy which will be good for Northern Ireland farmers.
“I hope 2013 is a much better year for the farming sector and we are looking forward to working with all our UFU members in the months ahead.”