Rogers calls for action to help ‘farmers in crisis’

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Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
SDLP South Down MLA Seán Rogers has called on the Agriculture minister to give a robust and positive response to the concerns of farmers in crisis about the future of the agri-business sector. Speaking ahead of an Assembly debate on the crisis in farming, Mr Rogers said: “We rightly see our ministers and MLAs responding when companies like FG Wilson experience difficulties but we need a similar response for our biggest industry – our Small and Medium Enterprises out in the countryside – our farmers. “We have had downpours all summer and the autumn sunshine has not materialised. Cereal farmers have seen a drop in yields and in some cases the fields are too wet to get the combines in. Many potato fields have been flooded and their crop water-slain, and while potato prices are better, they will not compensate for the losses. Rogers continued, “Our white meat sector is also stressed financially as a result of soaring production costs. It is a simple fact that if the cheque coming through the producer’s letterbox does not even match the production costs, the viability of the business disappears. “Add to this problems with DARD – be it the Countryside Management Scheme or late SFP payments – and we have a serious issue at hand.” He added, “Many in our agri-food sector will be listening closely and be deeply interested in what the minister has to tell them and how she intends to bring to the Executive table the concerns of Northern Ireland’s largest employer.”
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