Former South Down MLA John McCallister has been appointed Land Mobility Programme Manager with both the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) and The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).
Mr McCallister, a former president of the YFCU, will be responsible for the promotion of land and enterprise mobility, through collective arrangements such as partnerships, shared farming arrangements and leases between younger farmers and older landowners.
Both the UFU and YFCU are confident that this joint scheme will benefit both older and younger farming generations by matching people to opportunities. The objective is to put older farmers facing the challenge of succession in touch with younger farmers wanting to get into the industry.
Mr McCallister will be responsible for creating a database of interested older and younger farmers that will help link to appropriate opportunities. The service will outline available options and will develop an agreement based on personal priorities and circumstances.
YFCU President James Speers said: “I am delighted that we have appointed John as the Land Mobility Programme Manager. He is a very capable and enthusiastic individual who is well known throughout the agricultural industry and will bring a wealth of experience to the role.
“The Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster along with the Ulster Farmers’ Union have worked very hard on the implementation of the Land Mobility Scheme and I am confident that it will allow young farmers seeking to develop their farming career to become involved in the industry while enabling older farmers to take a step back.
“If anyone has an interest in developing their farming business I would urge them to get in contact with John and I look forward to working with him when he takes up the role.”
UFU President Barclay Bell added: “We are very pleased that the land mobility project is moving on to the next stage and that we have recruited a project manager. I am looking forward to working with John, who has practical experience of farming and brings an in depth knowledge of Northern Ireland’s agriculture industry to the role.”
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) will help fund the development and delivery of the Land Mobility Scheme for Northern Ireland. Over two years, the funds will be used to deliver the project that aims to help put farmers facing the challenge of succession in touch with younger farmers who want to get involved in farming.
John will take up his new role at the beginning of September 2017.