Rural advice evening held by local MLA

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A rural advice evening, hosted by local MLA Jo-Anne Dobson, took place last Thursday evening in Banbridge Old Town Hall.

The evening brought together speakers from Rural Support, local charity Yellow Ribbon, the Department of Agriculture and also the local Southern Regional College community team.

Commenting after the event Mrs Dobson said: “The message from the evening was that no matter what the issue there is always somewhere to turn to for tailored and helpful advice.

“I send my thanks to all of the agencies and their staff who took part in the evening and for the important advice and guidance they provided. We had some very interesting and varied questions from the floor, from allotments to greening rules and from young farmers to farm maps.

“Farmers and landowners have many unanswered questions especially around the implementation of the new CAP and it was also good to hear from Dr Arthur Cassidy around the work he is doing to tackle poor mental health amongst rural communities.

“One of the most interesting questions of the evening came from Heather Wilson from Bleary Young Farmers who asked how we can put the fun back into farming! This is an important point as farming has become increasingly more about paperwork and compliance rather than about farming.

“If anyone would like to get in touch with any of these organisations for help and advice please feel free to call into or contact my constituency office.” Mrs Dobson’s office is at 18 Rathfriland Street, Banbridge and can be contacted via 028 4066 9004 or you can contact her at