As uncertainty within the dairy sector – locally, nationally and internationally – is at its worst in living memory, this year’s Winter Fair breakfast discusses how the sector will overcome its biggest modern challenge: Brexit.

The annual Winter Fair breakfast event run by the Northern Ireland Institute of Agriculture Science (NIIAS) will welcome Dr. Mike Johnston from Dairy UK to speak on the topic, “Post-Brexit: Whither or wither?”

The current uncertainty within the dairy supply chain affects businesses at every level of the supply chain.

Businesses are having to deal with uncertainties in commodity markets, exchange rates, future trading relationships and future UK agricultural policy brought about by Brexit and other political developments around the world.


The discussion will take place at an event just before the RUAS Winter Fair on Thursday 14 December.

Dr. Mike Johnston is currently the chief executive of the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland director of Dairy UK; the body representing the UK dairy industry.

In 2013, Johnston was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by Ulster University and last year was awarded an MBE on the New Year’s Honours List.

Johnston previously warned many Northern Ireland dairy farmers would be forced out of business if trade barriers post-Brexit caused difficulties to milk processors. Around a third of the region’s milk makes its way across the Irish border.


Speaking ahead of the event, Declan McDevitt, NIIAS chairman, said: “It’s a great honour to have Mike address the institute.

As Brexit negotiations are underway and pressures mount from other external influences, our dairy industry is looking for certainty and leadership and it will be useful to listen to one of the ambassadors from our agri-food industry.

The event – sponsored by Dale Farm and United Feeds – will take place in Gowdy’s of Down Royal, Lisburn.

A light breakfast will be served from 7.30am with Dr. Johnston due to speak at 8:00am.

The cost is £10 for NIIAS members, £15 for non-members and £7.50 for students.

Pre-booking is required by Monday, December 11. Bookings can be made by email to NIIAS secretary Robert McKnight at: [email protected], or by phone on: 077-56009770.