Sperrins farmer to paint ‘IN’ on cattle in support of the EU

Stock image of cows
Stock image of cows

A Mid Ulster farmer is promising to paint his cattle with the word ‘IN’ to show his support for staying in the European Union.

Colin Gibson, who has kept sheep and cows for decades in the Sperrins, said he trusts the EU far more than Westminster to look after farmers.

Harking back to the dark days of the 1970s, he said he remembers when farmers were going out of business hand over fist while being forced to give cows away for free at market, because there was no other choice.

And despite UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s claims on Talkback that leaving the EU will not impact on Northern Ireland’s farmers, he has challenged him to explain how, as it has not been revealed how the money would be replaced by Westminster.

“Nigel Farage can make all the promises he wants but he’s not going to be making the decisions, he’s not even an MP,” Mr Gibson said.

With 300 sheep and 20 cows to look after on Meenard Mountain, he said he relies on the EU subsidy like many other farmers in the area.

Latest figures from The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development show that farmers in Mid Ulster receive just under £60m a year, which is funded by the EU through CAP payments every year.

“I trust the EU to look after farmers more than I do Westminster,” Mr Gibson went on. “Farms here rely on the subsidy they get and if there was any drop in that money you’d see farms go out of business.

“There’s a divide on opinion in the farming community but the risk of leaving the EU without any facts about where the subsidy would come from is too big for me... And what will we do about exports when we don’t have our free trade agreements?”