Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill recently paid a visit to a Stewartstown farm to see how one local darmer has benefitted from the Farm Modernisation Programme.
Over 5,000 farm businesses across the north have benefited from the £14million funding under the Farm Modernisation Programme (FMP), with a knock-on effect to the wider economy of approximately £35million.
FMP is delivered for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development by Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership and aims to improve the overall performance of their farm through modernisation.
Speaking during a visit to the Stewartstown, Co Tyrone farm of Kennedy Watters Minister O’Neill said: “Financial support worth almost £14million through FMP has helped boost the rural economy and has provided more than 5,000 farmers with the opportunity to invest in modern equipment for their farm businesses, enabling them to improve efficiency and performance.”
Mr Watters, who farms 200 acres with the assistance of wife Sharon and two sons Ken and Robert, recently purchased new equipment to improve the efficiency of the farm business said: “Thanks to FMP grant aid a weight platform was bought for our cattle crush and has proved invaluable in assessing livestock performance. Another step forward was the grant aided purchase of a sub soiler.
“In Northern Ireland grass is our best crop and cheapest feed so using the sub soiler to improve drainage and grass growth will have a massive impact on our swards. Like all in farming we find time a scarce commodity so we aim to be as efficient as possible given that Ken and Robert are also pursuing off farm careers.”