Island of discontent

IRISH farmers on both sides of the Border are locked in stand-offs with Government.

Ulster Farmers Union members in Co Tyrone who supported last week's IFA tractor protest are in the midst of their own Campaign Against a Rural Exodus CARE campaign.

UFU Group Secretary Denise Kelso said last week, "Family farm incomes are too low on both sides of the border and action is needed".

However, UFU are getting no better hearing from Government than IFA got from Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh last week. Northern Ireland's Farm Minister Ian Pearson made it clear in a New Year message that farmers must look largely to their own resources.

"People rather than organisations will take Northern Ireland's beleaguered agricultural industry out of its present difficulties", he said.

Appointed to his post last October, Mr Pearson has said, "It is those individuals with the necessary vision and determination who will carve out and secure the future place and role of the agri-food industry."

He continues a tough line of farm policy adopted by his predecessor Brid Rodgers who told farmers last September they were naive to think every member of any given grouping in society has an inalienable right to a profitable return on his or her output.

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