The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) raised the profile of farming in Northern Ireland during the Clogher Valley Show this week.

Victor Chestnutt, Deputy President of the UFU, speaking to guests as he officially opened the Glanbia Foodhall on the Tuesday evening, reflected on how farming enterprises have changed over the years. For example, 50 years ago in Northern Ireland there were 1.25 million pigs, today that figure is 633,000.

25 years ago there were 583,000 cows and today there are fewer cows at 566,000.

Since 1998 there has been a reduction of 89,000 suckler beef cows and during the same period the Northern Ireland sheep flock has decreased from 1.45 million to 956,000 head.

Mr. Chestnutt said that yet, farmers are expected to feed the world as the population increases significantly over the next few decades.

UFU said this week that it was increasingly concerned by the misrepresentation of Northern Ireland’s livestock industry and in particular the myth that livestock numbers have increased.

Another UFU Deputy President, David Brown was a guest speaker at a local community action group meeting in Fermanagh which had concerns regarding plans for a pig unit in the area. He said: “Agriculture plays a crucial role in Northern Ireland’s economy. We are the cornerstone of the agri-food industry which turns over £4.8 billion annually and accounts for 32 per cent of total manufacturing sales.”

He continued: “With the UK only 55 per cent self-sufficient in pig meat and 75 per cent in both poultry and beef, there are gaps in the market we can fill with our locally produced, high quality meat rather than relying on imports from countries that are possibly not required to meet our same high animal welfare and environmental standards.”

The full presidential team of the UFU attended the show. President Ivor Ferguson and the two Deputy Presidents were available throughout the day to speak to farming families. Mr. Chestnutt was the judge of the Champion of Champions in the cattle section.




Champion – Robin Irvine; Reserve Champion - John Taggart

Cow or heifer – 1, Mark Moore, Aughnacloy; 2, Kathryn Greenaway, Portadown

Heifer born in 2017 – 1, John Taggart, Newtownards; 2, Mervyn Richmond, Derrylin; 3, James Graham, Portadown

Heifer born in 2018 – 1, Mervyn Richmond; 2, Simon Johnston, Bessbrook; 3, Jenna Hunter, Markethill

Bull born in 2017 - 1, Robin Irvine, Armagh; 2, James Graham

Bull born in 2018 – 1, James Graham; 2, Christopher McCrea, Strabane; 3, Mark Moore

Bull calf – 1, Mark Moore

Pair of Hereford cattle – 1, Mervyn Richmond; 2, James Graham; 3, Simon Johnston


Champion – C & A Kennedy; Reserve Champion - J & E.A. Elliott

Cow – 1, J & E.A. Elliott, Newtownstewart; 2, George McCall, Armagh

Bull or heifer calf – 1, J & E.A. Elliott

Heifer – 1, J & E.A. Elliott; 2, P O’Kane, Greysteel; 3, Patrick McGinn, Downpatrick

Heifer born in 2016 – 1, Patrick McGinn; 2, J & E.A Elliott; 3, P O’Kane

Bull – 1, C & A Kennedy, Ballyclare; 2, P O’Kane; 3, Patrick McGinn

Pair of Salers cattle – 1, Patrick McGinn; 2, J & E.A. Elliott; 3, P O’Kane

British Blue

Champion – Chelsea Best; Reserve Champion - Stephen Crawford

Bull – 1, Stephen Crawford, Brookeborough; 2, William and Gemma Hetherington, Sixmilecross

Heifer – 1 & 2, Chelsea Best, Portadown