Derek Lough to become YFCU chief

Derek Lough is to take over as chief executive of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) later this year.

He is currently membership director at the Ulster Farmers’ Union and is to take up the role with the YFCU in the autumn.

Gillian McKeown was the previous YFCU chief executive, having held the position since January 2023.

Greenmount agriculture students at record high

The number of students studying agriculture at Greenmount is at a record high, CAFRE director Martin McKendry has said.

“Our agriculture numbers over the last six years have risen 30% across further and higher education. There are record numbers now in agriculture,” he said.

Speaking to a committee of MLAs last week, McKendry said the GCSE in agriculture, which is available in secondary schools, has helped increase the number of students who go on to study at Greenmount.

“We are offering young people the opportunity to come into CAFRE at level two and level three and they have a route of progression right through to honours degree,” he said.

Armagh has highest BVD rate in NI

Armagh has the highest incidence rate of Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD) across the ten divisional veterinary offices (DVO) in NI.

The latest figures from Animal Health and Welfare NI show that 0.46% of tests in the Armagh DVO were positive or inconclusive during May 2024.

The next highest rate was 0.37% in the Omagh DVO and the average for all of NI is 0.21%.

The industry-led body said the number of BVD positive calves that are being retained on local farms “has fallen considerably”. At the start of June 2024, there were 18 BVD-positive calves across 16 different herds, which had been retained for 28 days or more.

NI agriculture on honours list

People from the local agriculture industry featured on the King’s birthday honours list. DAERA deputy secretary Norman Fulton is to receive a CBE for services to agriculture in NI.

John Martin, field development officer at Holstein UK, is being awarded an MBE for services to agriculture and dairy farming in NI.

Edward Adamson, NI development officer at the National Sheep Association, is receiving an MBE for services to the sheep industry.

RHI participant wins High Court legal case

A judgement was handed down in the High Court on Wednesday in a judicial review case, which challenged the sanctions imposed on a Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) participant.

The test case was led by Dennison Commercials Ltd and could have implications for other scheme participants who are in a similar situation. The issue surrounds the mechanisms that were used to try to recoup RHI payments from participants and revoke scheme memberships.

On Wednesday, Justice Humphreys found in favour of Dennison on three out of the six grounds that the case was based on, including that the procedures followed by the Department for the Economy were unfair.

The latest case follows on from a High Court ruling last August which quashed the need for Coleraine poultry producer Thomas Paul to re-pay over £53,000 in RHI payments and blocked an attempt to revoke his scheme membership.