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Report into Hill Sheep Farming Welcomed

26 July, 2012

Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson Oliver McMullan MLA has welcomed the National Sheep Associations report ‘The Complementary Role of Sheep in Less Favoured Areas’.

Mr. McMullan said,

“On Monday I attended Greenmount Agricultural College to hear the report on the benefits of sheep production in rural areas.  These benefits include environmental protection, wool production, breeding stock and high food production.

“The hill sheep diet consists of rough grazing with little use of concentrate feed therefore the meat produced is high in Omega 3 content which has great health benefits. What makes this presentation unique is that we usually only hear about lowland sheep farming now at last we have a detailed report on the role of sheep farming and its benefits in less favourable areas.

“I would like to thank the Regional Chairman Maurice McHenry and the Regional Manager Edward Adamson for their invitation and to congratulate them on an excellent report.

“The importance of hill farming cannot be underestimated, at present hill ground and all less favourable areas cover nearly 50% of all agricultural land in the North.

“Recently the Environment Minister Alex Attwood announced his plans for National Parks this is one subject that could have a big effect on hill farming especially with the possible restrictions that could come with any Park status.

“At present there has been little or no consultation with the farming community and this need to change. I will be raising these issues with the Minister when the Assembly reconvenes in September.”

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