Minister Poots visits farm of UFU President

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots has visited the farm of UFU President, Mr Victor Chestnutt, to see for himself some of the range of positive environmental measures that have been put in place.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 1:00 pm

The UFU President was delighted to host the visit of the Minister on his farm just outside Bushmills, along with Vice Presidents David Brown and William Irvine.

Victor, who has been an enthusiastic supporter of incorporating environmental measures into his farm business and is a member of his local Environmental Business Development Group facilitated by CAFRE, said: “Stock comes first on this farm, but there is always something that can be done to address the environmental challenges facing all of us within the farming industry. We’ve put in a range of measures to contribute to meeting these challenges, including solar panels, heat exchangers and low emission slurry spreading. These can all help to reduce costs, but other important measures such as planting trees, hedges and protecting water quality come at a price and farmers need to be adequately and flexibly supported to deliver these.

Welcoming the opportunity to see first-hand the measures introduced at the farm, Minister Poots, continued: “I’d like to thank Victor and his family for their kind invitation. It’s really encouraging to see the impressive range of measures he has taken with support from DAERA schemes such as the Small Woodland Grant Scheme, the Environmental Farming Scheme and the Farm Business Improvement Scheme. The fact that he has involved younger members of the family to help plant the trees will provide them with a lasting environmental legacy as well as fond memories in years to come.”

Staff who took part in the climb in aid of NSPCC's Childhood Day

The Minister continued: “I was pleased to see the first positive outcomes from the Small Woodland Grant Scheme which my Department set up last year, as well as the hedging and watercourse fencing delivered by the Environmental Farming Scheme, which were worth over £15m to the industry last year. The visit allowed the opportunity for important discussion on issues surrounding the payment rates and timing and the flexibility of some schemes. As I’ve mentioned previously, following Brexit, we now have an opportunity to develop an agricultural support framework portfolio which will be better suited to local needs. Co-design, involving organisations such as the UFU, farmers and environmental stakeholders will be key in the development process.

“I’m pleased to announce that I have secured funding for a fifth and sixth tranche of the Environmental Farming Scheme, the fifth intake of the Wider Scheme will open on the 16 August for 4 weeks and I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t joined the Scheme to look at the options available and consider making an application. The Small Woodland Grant Scheme is currently open for applications.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

Minister Poots with Victor Chestnutt, President of the Ulster Farmers Union during a visit to Mr Chestnutt’s farm

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to

Minister Poots with Victor Chestnutt, President of the Ulster Farmers Union during a visit to Mr Chestnutt’s farm

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Thank you