Ulster Unionist Agriculture Spokesperson Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, has welcomed the decision of the Northern Ireland Executive in agreeing a package of support for farmers hit by the severe weather conditions.
Mrs Dobson said:“At this morning’s Emergency Agriculture Committee meeting, I relayed the direct concerns of the South Down farmers I met with in recent days, and farmers affected across Northern Ireland. They are deeply deserving of support from Government and I support the decision made today to provide upfront aid to those in greatest need and suffering losses of livestock and infrastructure.
“I am also heartened to hear that the Northern Ireland Executive has agreed to a sensible solution, proposed by the Ulster Unionist Party earlier this week, to fund the‘fallen animals scheme.’
“I called for this measure, because unaided, those farmers who have lost livestock, would be left to shoulder the expense of having these animals removed from their farms at a cost of roughly £20 for a Ewe and £10 for a lamb.
"Farmers, who are dealing with dire conditions, have told me directly that they fully support this gesture because of the helping hand it brings in enabling them to efficiently dispose of their dead animals.
“I commend the wonderful community spirit of the farmers and rural communities who, through acts of selfless generosity, are looking out for their neighbours.
“My Ulster Unionist colleague, Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy MLA, supported the package of measures approved at The Executive.
“My colleagues and I will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the farming community at their greatest time of need. We support the measures announced and call on the Minister of Agriculture and her officials to move swiftly to alleviate the severe stress being felt by farmers during the extremely severe weather conditions.”