NI farmers get New Year honours

Several individuals from the local farming industry featured in the 2024 New Year honours list.

Moneymore businesswoman Helen Keys, who is involved in the Nature Friendly Farming Network and Queen’s University’s Students’ Union, is to be awarded an MBE for services to entrepreneurship and innovation in farming.

Adrian Morrow from Glenarm Estate and the Irish Grouse Conservation Trust is receiving a BEM for voluntary services to habitat conservation and to the community in Co Antrim.

Finally, Coleraine dairy farmer Adam Watson is being awarded a BEM for services to mental health in the farming community in NI.

UFU next generation open for applications

The Next Generation Forum within the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is open for applicants until Monday 15 January.

The forum is for young people involved in farming and is open to both UFU members and non-members.

Through regular meetings and field visits, participants in the group will learn more about the local agriculture sector and the policies that influence NI farming.

Application forms are available online at

Ulster Wool sees 20% price rise at auctions

Ulster Wool has noted the “first sustained price recovery” since the COVID-19 pandemic at recent wool auctions in Bradford.

“Over the past few months, we have seen a healthy improvement in both demand and prices at our auctions,” said Graham Clark, director of marketing.

“Generally, prices have increased by 20% with some of the more sought-after types gaining 15p to 20p per kilo,” he added.

Clark acknowledged that prices “are still some way off where we need to be”, although he described recent gains as “encouraging”.

Record breaking year for NI weather

New statistics from the Met Office show that 2023 was the warmest year on record in NI.

The average temperature during the year was 10.17oC, which beats the previous record set in 2022 of 9.83oC.

It was also the third wettest year on record, with NI recording 1,399mm for the year. The figure is 21% higher than the annual average. The wettest year ever was 1872 when 1,416mm was recorded in what is now NI.

“A warmer atmosphere has a greater capacity to hold moisture. As our climate warms, we expect it to become wetter too,” said Met Office senior scientist Mike Kendon.

Succession to the fore at UGS conference

The 65th annual conference of the Ulster Grassland Soceity takes place at the Dunadry Hotel, Templepatrick on Tuesday 23 January, starting at 9.45am.

The theme for the event is “Setting up the business for the future” with speakers from Britain and Ireland looking at practical and legal issues around farm succession.

The cost is £35 for members, £45 for non-members and £25 for students. Bookings should be confirmed by Thursday 18 January. For more information, conact the Honorary at or by phone 07920037910.

Agricultural shows dates set for 2024

The NI Shows Association has confirmed dates for local agricultural shows across NI this year.

The first event is Balmoral Show from 15th to 18th May, followed by Ballymoney Show taking place over two days from 31st May.

There are several local shows scheduled for June, namely Lurgan (1st), Armagh (8th), Saintfield (15th), Ballymena (15th), Killyleagh (22nd) and Newry (29th).

Omagh Show takes place between 5th and 6th July, followed by Castlewellan on the 13th and Londonderry/Limavady on the 20th. Antrim Show is on 27th July, Clogher Valley is 31st July and Fermanagh Show takes place on 9th and 10th of August.

The RUAS beef and lamb championships is scheduled for the 26th November and the RUAS Winter Fair is on 12th December.