1 August 1997

FFC BACKS TALK WITH ACTION

SAFETY at work, rural stress, the promotion of Northern Irelands food product and the difficulty family farms have in supporting two and three generations are among the concerns of the Ulster Farmers Unions Farm Family Committee.

It was set up to help address the many social and economic issues affecting the farm family and has been established for almost a year now, having met for the first time in Sept 1996. Its 28 members – 23 of them women and two of them representatives of the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster – have not just sat and talked issues over but backed their words with action. Lobbying Marks & Spencer about the American beef on its shelves, for example, and launching a rural stress initiative in conjunction with the Samaritans and the Citizens Advice Bureau. They found a sponsor and had 45,000 cards printed for distribution throughout the province. These have information about the help available to those feeling isolated and bowed down with problems.

The committee has also taken responsibility on behalf of the UFU to endeavour to have a farm retirement scheme introduced in Northern Ireland similar to that in the Republic of Ireland so that farmers may retire at 55.