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It is now clear that the British people have made the choice to leave the European Union. The countr...


Programme Unveiled for Producer Organisation Information Event

11.45am Welcome by UFU Deputy President Barclay Bell. Barclay's enterprises on the farm are cereals, sheep, winter accommodation for dairy heifers and willows. Farm diversification has also played a role on the farm with a cut flower enterprise and two years ago a wind turbine was erected. Barclay is a past member of the UFU Beef and Lamb Committee and Seeds and Cereal Committee, County Down Chairman and a member of the UFU Board. He is also an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies, a past YFCU County Chairman and member of YFCU Executive Committee, and a past Chairman of Texel Sheep Breeders Club NI.

11.50am Ian Duff will Chair the morning session 'what is it all about' 

Since retiring from DARD in 2002 Ian has worked with the industry on a number of arable and horticulture projects. This has recently included acting as facilitator to the Horticulture Forum within the Supply Chain Development Programme which identified opportunities and challenges for the industry in Northern Ireland. This resulted in the publication and presentation to Ministers, MEPs and the Agri-Food Strategy Group of the Forum's "Review and Strategic Priorities for the Development of the Horticulture Industry in Northern Ireland".

What is it all about?

11.55am Presentation from Michal Slawski: Michal Slawski is a Development and Marketing Specialist in the horticultural department of Bord Bia. He has the role of sector manager for the mushroom industry, as well as responsibility for fruit crops, covered crops and innovation and branding. He has a BSc in Agricultural Economics and a Masters in Venture management and extensive marketing experience. He has been with Bord Bia since 2006.

12.05pm Presentation from Martin Evans: Martin Evans is CEO of Freshgro - Fresh Growers Ltd, a co-operative formed in June 1998 by 10 farmers. That pioneered bringing back Chantenay carrots to the UK and is now the world's leading supplier, supplying over 90% of the UK Chantenay market. Martin Evans believes "The future will bring more innovation and we are not just satisfied with keeping up with progress we feel it is important that we have a hand in creating progress."

12.15pm Presentation from Frank Donnelly: Frank Donnelly's Farm, Keenaghan Mushrooms, produces on average 20,000lbs per week of Chestnut Mushrooms specialising in large flats called Portabellas, as well as conventional cup mushrooms. The farm is a member of a producer organisation – Northway Mushrooms who are responsible for selling the mushrooms to Hughes Mushrooms and end up on the shelves of Sainsbury's and Waitrose. Since the Producer Organisation started in 2000 Northway Mushrooms has supported Frank in moving from white mushroom production to chestnut, provided access to funding for the installation of a biomass boiler, delivered picking training and agronomy services, provided access to a robust buying group and has developed a transparent supply chain with stable, fair price.

Q & A Panel – chaired by Ian Duff


Roy Lyttle will chair the afternoon session 'Formal structures and Benefits'

Roy is currently Chairman of the Ulster Farmers' Union Vegetable Committee. He is the owner of Roy Lyttle Ltd and supplies a range of vegetable produce to the retail multiples including Tesco. He is the only supplier of organic vegetables to the multiples in Northern Ireland. Roy is also a member of the Horticulture Forum N. I., Representative on the Northern Ireland Agricultural Wages Board, Vice Chairman of The Board of Governors of Regent House Grammar School and a member of the Board of Governors of two local Primary schools.

1.35pm Presentation from Mike Allaway on 'RPA': Mike has worked for RPA since its inception and prior to that one of its forerunners the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce. Aside from brief forays into Finance and IT support most of his career has involved management, administration and delivery of CAP support schemes. He has been involved with the Fruit and Vegetables Aid scheme since early 2006 and currently works within RPA's External Relations team advising on scheme policy.

1.45pm Presentation from Elaine Shaw Operations Manager of Northway Mushrooms on 'Northway how we deliver': Elaine has been responsible for the day to day running of Northway Mushrooms since its inception in 2000. Northway Mushrooms is a producer organization that has experienced significant growth over the last five years. Elaine focuses on retaining existing sales and attracting new customers.

With her knowledge and experience of over 15 years in dealing with supermarket buyers and wholesale market traders and her detailed knowledge of the costs of the industry, Elaine is very well placed to grow Northway's existing customer base and to continue supporting all aspects of member business development.

1.55pm Presentation from Frank Corbally on 'The mechanics and structures for delivery': Frank Corbally is an independent consultant, with 30 years' experience of the agricultural and food industry. He has wide experience of establishing and operating Producer Organisations under EU Regulations in Ireland and the UK. The Producer Organisations have been in a variety of sectors, including mushrooms, vegetable and fruit. He currently works for several recognised Producer Organisations and other clients in the food industry, focusing on funding, aid applications and strategic plans.

2.00pm Q & A Panel - chaired by Seamus Hughes (DARD Farm Policy) Seamus has worked in DARD since 1995 having previously worked in DOE. He has worked at Loughry Campus in Food Education and on the Peace II funding programme for farmers, and since June 2007 has been in Farm Policy Branch working in the policy areas of Horticulture, Equines and Bees. He is involved with a number of Horticulture policy areas, including among others exploring the potential to expand the EU Fruit and Vegetable Producer Organisation Scheme in Northern Ireland.


Producer Organisation Information Event - Thursday 7th March 2013
Seagoe Hotel - 22 Upper Church Lane, Portadown, Craigavon, BT63 5JE

Source: Farming Life - Programme Unveiled for Producer Organisation Information Event