The cross-boarder trade incattle between the province and the Irish Republic must be protected by whatever means in the wake of the Brexit vote the Ulster Farmers’ Union has claimed.
Speaking during a visit to the Irish National Ploughing Championships, UFU deputy president Victor Chestnutt warned that failure to do so would have a negative impact on livestock farms.
“There are many established links between the livestock sector in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for both breeding and finished stock,” he said.
“This historic trade, in place for generations, is crucial if we are to sustain a vibrant and economically viable livestock sector north and south of the border,” he added.
Over the past week Mr Chestnutt, along with Crosby Cleland and Sam Chesney of the UFU’s beef and lamb committee, have been speaking to farmers and livestock marts on both sides of the border.
“From a Northern Ireland perspective, this year we have exported half our lambs and a significant number of cattle to processors south of the border,” Mr Chestnutt said.
“This trade, facilitated by the live markets, has encouraged competition and ensured farmers get the best possible price for their stock.”
He added that while the sterling/euro exchange rate had a major bearing on the success of this trade, government must recognise that additional complications as a result of Brexit would undermine farm incomes and this must be avoided.