The announcement has stoked up strong reaction leading to the BBC being lobbied by the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O’Neill along with the Ulster Farmers’ Union and others.

‘Farm Gate’ started as a stand-alone programme over 30 years ago, but was taken into a regular slot in ‘Good Morning Ulster’ and ‘Good Evening Ulster’ in the past decade.

At a peak listening ‘drive time’ in the evenings, it has provided a link between rural and urban dwellers as well as a public broadcasting service to farmers. As one wag put it, Farm Gate educated people on the meaning of the word ‘hogget’.

The BBC is apparently suggesting that the rural community will continue to be catered for by regular reporting within the Radio Ulster news programming by a dedicated agriculture and environment reporter.