Northern Irish Rural Body Urged To Take More Flexible Approach on Inclusion of Fencing in New Scheme

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has urged the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to take a more flexible approach on the inclusion of fencing in the new Farm Business Improvement Scheme (FBIS).

UFU deputy president, Ivor Ferguson, said: “Is is our understanding at this stage that fencing may not be included in this scheme, despite it being part of a similar scheme south of the border.”
With the scheme due to open later this year, the UFU is concerned that despite demand from the industry for fencing to be included, DAERA may reject this.
Mr Ferguson says farmers are being urged to become more efficient, with a big drive to improve grassland management.

“If the scheme included funding for new and improved fencing, this would automatically deliver better grassland management.

“There would be additional benefits for biosecurity too,” he said.

Mr Ferguson added that UFU members have shown a keen interest in using the scheme for upgrading fences and erecting new fencing.

“Like us, they are well aware that farmers in the Republic of Ireland have recently been given access to a sheep fencing scheme.

“The DAERA approach will put our members at a potential competitive disadvantage,” he said.

The UFU says it will continue urging DAERA to include fencing in the first tranche of the scheme and to ensure the FBIS is rolled out as soon as possible.