1986: Enforcement of prohibition on liquid milk imports into NI (but not buttermilk) #20YearRule

A slim green file AG/15/60A (selective scans) released under the 20 Year Rule and available to peruse at the Public Records Office deals with the vexed issue in 1986 of milk being illegally imported across the border from the Republic of Ireland and sold in Northern Ireland shops. Buttermilk wasn’t covered by the same import ban!

Old farmers, young vets, and the impact of Brexit on agriculture…

The chief fire officer recently requested that we use the term fire fighter and not fireman, in order to encourage and support females into the profession. My profession has already made this demographic shift, from a male dominated profession 40 years ago to 90 percent female graduates now. The selection process and the course itself means that the young women graduating are amongst the most determined and gifted of their generation and it is a special privilege to have them … Read more

Agribusiness post Brexit should be a concern to all of us not just the farming community…

The sands of the Brexit egg timer are running down on whether we have a hard or soft boiled outcome, either way, the industry which will be most scrambled by the outcome is agri food. Approximately half of the EU budget has historically been spent on subsidising this industry, almost every farm on every road from Aughnacloy to Athens has been in receipt of a cheque as well as tariff protections which have kept them in business for living memory. … Read more

The modern management obsession with targets is missing the point…

Being told to grasp the bull by the horns is usually a management metaphor for getting on with the job. In my line of work as a country vet, it’s just as likely to be a reality. A significant part of my time is spent Tuberculosis testing cattle as a subcontractor to the department of agriculture. We will all be familiar with the concept of a having a blood test at the doctors and the sample being whisked off to … Read more

Trading Partners Wanted: Looking at Georgia…

As it stands, Ireland’s largest trading partner is the United Kingdom. This has been the case since Independence although the balance has shifted greatly since Ireland entered the EEC in 1973 with the UK no longer wholly dominate although our reliance on the UK in certain sectors such as beef, timber, pork and much more. As Ireland’s reliance on the UK as a trading partner has diminished, it has been able to look to a wider market largely thanks to … Read more

Hard Brexit, trade, and the border

Today’s announcement by the Prime Minister Theresa May that Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon will be triggered in March 2017 has brought into sharp focus the potential impact that a hard Brexit could have on the Northern Ireland economy. Should the UK leave the European Union without any form of free trade deal with the EU, then trade across the Irish border could be subject to tariffs in line with World Trade Organization rules. A hard border between … Read more

Northern Ireland dog food infiltration known about seven years ago…

So according to the Elliot Report, food crime has been identified as a problem in Northern Ireland since 2005, but nothing was done about it because of a resource problem. Conor Macauley reports for the BBC: UK customers had “access to perhaps the safest food in the world”, but said government should consider a new food crime unit to help prevent a repeat of the horsemeat scandal earlier this year. The report did not state where in Northern Ireland the … Read more