1 October 2014

Question Time Agriculture and Rural Development - Tuesday 30 September 2014


John McCallister MLA asked the agriculture minister about the effects of the Russian embargo of EU food products on the Mourne herring fishery.

Minister Michelle O'Neill said there would be a knock-on effect in terms of market prices.

She said she had discussed the matter in Brussels recently, especially with regard to cheese exports.

"We've made it very clear to the commission that what we need to see is timely intervention," she said.

The minister said additional markets were being sought for food products.

The Minister also faced a number of questions about slurry matters.

In reply to a query from Phil Flanagan MLA, she said there would be no change to the current dates for the closed period for slurry spreading.

Edwin Poots MLA called for better-informed farm inspectors, giving the example of a farmer whose store of soil was mistaken for chicken litter.

During the 15 minute period of Topical Questions to the Minister she had to answer questions on the Farm Safety Action Plan for Schoolchildren, Single Farm Payments, EU Infraction Fines and the National Ploughing Championship.