Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has made representations to the DAERA Permanent Secretary and to the Prime Minister calling for additional support to be provided to the farming industry during the cost-of-living crisis and to enable it to adapt to the climate emergency.

The action was taken following adoption of a motion highlighting the positive contribution made by a thriving farming industry to the local economy which was submitted to Council on behalf of the Members of its Agricultural Liaison Group.

The motion, which was proposed by Councillor Bernice Swift, seconded by Councillor Mark Buchanan, and supported by the members of the Agricultural Liaison Group, states that: “This Council continues to recognise the vital contribution farming makes to our rural economy and that our local farming industry is under unprecedented attack due to both local and global sources.

"This Council calls on the Permanent Secretary in the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to invest in local farmers by making additional funding available to help them deal with the current cost of living crisis and uncertainties created by Brexit and other global pressures.

"We also call on the Prime Minister to guarantee the farming industry and rural communities at least the same level of funding that was provided by the EU pre-Brexit in the form of the Basic Area Payment and the Rural Development Programme.

"We call for additional financial assistance to fund bio-security and environmental initiatives to address the climate change crisis.

"Further, this Council will continue to highlight all the positive aspects a thriving farming industry brings to the Fermanagh and Omagh Council area.”

Speaking at the meeting, Chair of the Agricultural Liaison Group, Councillor John Coyle, said: “It was fantastic to work with the Members of the Agricultural Liaison Group to bring this important Motion to Council.

"The farms within the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area are primarily family farms which have been passed down through generations and it is vital that they are supported to ensure the sustainability of our farming sector and of our rural communities.

"Many farmers are facing significant financial stress due to the increase in costs and it is imperative that the Government intervenes to ensure these businesses continue to operate and to provide high quality produce.”

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, through the Agricultural Liaison Group, will continue to proactively lobby on behalf of the local farming sector and to champion its needs.