Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson welcomed members of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) to the European Parliament in Brussels this week. Mr Nicholson had arranged for the YFCU members to take part in the 2nd European Congress of Young Farmers, a two day conference involving approximately 350 young farmers from across the EU. The visit’s itinerary also included a meeting with a number of key officials from the European Commission.
Speaking after the event Jim said:
“It was great to take part in the 2nd European Congress of Young Farmers especially as this in turn meant that young farmers from Northern Ireland could be involved. This two day conference was an excellent way for young farmers from across the EU to come together to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing agriculture in the EU.
“I was particularly pleased to be able to arrange for the YFCU President Martyn Blair to address the conference and for the delegation from Northern Ireland to meet with officials from the European Commission.”
“This was a very timely discussion as the technical details of the Young Farmers Scheme are currently being finalised so this was a great opportunity for local young farmers to highlight their concerns and views about the support they need directly to key officials. I was very impressed by the way the young farmers were up-to-date with regards the detail of the reform of the CAP and how they engaged with the Mr Coturni and his team.”
“I hope that the delegation from the YFCU found the conference beneficial, this was a prime opportunity for local young farmers to have their voices heard right at the heart of the EU and for Martyn and his members to develop useful links with young farmers, officials and political representatives from across the EU.”
The meeting was with Flavio Coturni (Head of Unit for Direct Support) from the European Commission’s Agriculture and Rural Development Directorate-General (department) and focused on the Young Farmers’ Scheme contained within the reformed CAP. Issues discussed included the definition of a young farmer plus DARD’s proposal that those eligible for the scheme must hold a Level III educational qualification in agriculture or a closely related subject.