Following BBC Northern Ireland’s announcement of its plans for agriculture coverage, Ulster Farmers’ Union President Ian Marshall has said that farmers will be pleased that farming news will retain a dedicated programming slot and receive enhanced coverage on the BBC.

“Farmers, the wider industry and many of our politicians made their views clear that dedicated farming news on the BBC is vitally important and to do away with it would be a complete disservice to the farming and rural communities, as well as the wider public.

“We are pleased that BBC have listened and have unveiled their plans, which includes maintaining a daily and dedicated farming programme slot, as well as enhanced coverage across its media platforms. Agri-food is one of the biggest industries in Northern Ireland, turning over approximately £4.5billion a year and employing nearly 100,000 people, and news from this sector is not only relevant and of interest to farmers but to the wider public as a whole.

“As we understand, the recruitment for a specialist Agriculture and Environmental Affairs Correspondent is currently underway and the Union believes strongly that it is essential that this individual has a strong background in agriculture and agri-food.

“We will be keeping a close eye on how the revised and enhanced coverage develops and we are committed to continuing to work with the BBC to see agriculture news prominently featured.”