William Irvine appointed new president of Ulster Farmers' Union

William Irvine, a dairy producer from Co Armagh, has been voted in as UFU president for two years
William Irvine, a dairy producer from Co Armagh, has been voted in as UFU president for two years

County Armagh dairy farmer William Irvine has been elected as the president of the Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) for two years.

The union has elected its new leadership team at its annual general meeting (AGM) which took place at CAFRE’s Loughry Campus.

Mr Irvine was voted in as president for two years, replacing County Fermanagh livestock farmer David Brown who was elected in 2022.

At the AGM, John McLenaghan was re-elected as deputy president for a second term. He will be joined by newly elected deputy president Glenn Cuddy.

The appointments come as new agriculture policy is currently being rolled out in Northern Ireland.

Mr Irvine spoke about the importance of the agriculture industry and the challenges farmers are facing following one of the wettest periods on record.

He said: “The agri-food industry is a critical part of Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom, economically and socially.

"We must produce enough food to feed a growing population while playing our part in tackling climate change.

“Investing and supporting our NI farming industry, from arable and horticulture to livestock farming, translates into a prosperous future for all.

"Farmers cannot be sacrificed for other societal objectives. We are essential to both a healthy world and a healthy population."

In Northern Ireland, bovine TB remains a major issue and Mr Irvine emphasised that the UFU is pushing forward to ensure the disease is tackled in all hosts.

“TB is one of the most pressing issues for our industry and one of the most heart wrenching," he said.

"The science is clear, and we are in dire need of an effective program that tackles TB in all its hosts. To say it’s long overdue is an absolute understatement.

“The wildlife control programme in England has been an undeniable success delivering the lowest level of breakdowns for many years, resulting in healthier wildlife and livestock.

"We hope that with new chief veterinary officer Brian Dooher now in post, that we can get back on track to eradicating this disease once and for all."