UUP appoints Swann as new agri spokesperson

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The Ulster Unionist Party has appointed their North Antrim MLA, and former President of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster, Robin Swann as their new spokesperson for agriculture and rural affairs.

Mr Swann, a longstanding member of previous Stormont Agriculture Committees, has also served as a past Chairman of the Rural Youth Europe organisation.

Robin Swann, who is set to be ratified as Leader of the UUP at the Party’s Annual General Meeting next Saturday, said: “I am pleased to have been appointed as the new spokesperson for the Party, replacing the very able Harold McKee.

“From a young age on joining the YFCU I have always had a very close interest in agricultural affairs and since being first elected to the Assembly in 2011 I have served on its Agriculture Committees at various times.

“Coming from a rural constituency such as North Antrim I am also very familiar with the day to day issues that are affecting farmers and I will be using this awareness to help shape the Ulster Unionist Party’s agri-priorities moving forward.

“Agriculture across Northern Ireland is facing a very uncertain period. Prices are still far from sustainable in many cases, with many sectors still reeling from difficult exchange rates and supermarkets using their size and purchasing power to exert undue influence and control.

“On the week of Article 50 being triggered there has still been no clarification of what support will be available post 2020. There are few other sectors of the local economy that face being affected by Brexit as much as agriculture, and with local farmers so heavily reliant on direct financial support, it is absolutely essential that the design of a new scheme that allows land based payments to continue starts now. That will be my main priority moving forward.”