Last year was an extremely difficult year for the farming sector and while the long-term prospects for farming are good that’s no consolation for those struggling now, Ulster Farmers Union Ian Marshall has said.

The long-term prospects for farming, he said, are good but that is no consolation for those struggling to get through the current crisis.

The last 12 months, he said, have demonstrated the volatility in farming and that is something we have to get more used to.

“It has flagged for us that for young people coming in there has to be a better way of doing business and taking the volatility out and ensuring there is a sustainable future.”

He also said that prices such as £35/pig and 17c for milk are prices are not viable. “Banks need to look at things differently because these are not viable prices.”

Farming hit by flooding

Wesley Aston, UFU Chief Executive, said the recent flooding has had a devastating effect on some farmers. “When you see what is happening not the ground you have to wonder about river maintenance and dredging and what would help this situation.”

He also said that farmers do not need any more kicks in the teeth. “They are ok for fodder but what is the pasture going to look like when the flooding goes away. It is a long-term situation.

“People are surviving, but that’s about it.”