New farming role for former MLA

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

RATHFRILAND native and former South Down MLA John McCallister, says he is looking forward to taking up his new role as Land Mobility Programme Manager.

The Young Farmers' Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) along with The Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) announced the appointment last week.

Mr McCallister, a beef farmer, has continually had a strong interest in agriculture and environmental issues and is a former president of the Young Farmers' Clubs of Ulster (YFCU).

Officially taking up his new position next month, Mr McCallister 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.

In a statement, both the UFU and YFCU said they were 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.

Speaking to The Outlook, Mr McCallister said: "Although I don't start the role officially until next month, I am doing bits and pieces already. This role will be dealing with issues that I have been interested in for a long time and how opportunities are created for both young farmers coming into the industry and farmers thinking about retirement.

"As a beef farmer myself and former dairy farmer I feel I have a lot of experience to bring to this role. I have been farming from I went to agricultural college.

"I am very much looking forward to the role and I know it will be very interesting, it is an exciting opportunity and initially a two-year post."

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."

Rathfriland man and 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.

Mr McCallister can be contacted about his new position at his email address -


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