The upcoming General Election is the most significant Westminster election ‘in generations’, according to the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

The union underlined that the next UK parliamentary term would be ‘pivotal’ for farmers in Northern Ireland.

It has proposed three key requests for the next government, including an increase in the designated annual farm support and development budget for NI, from £330m to £389m.

The union’s president, William Irvine, said: “With 670,000 people living in rural NI, and the agri-food sector being the backbone of the rural economy, politicians cannot afford to dismiss the importance of our vote.

“The General Election has the power to change the direction of UK politics, ultimately determining the future of agriculture, and we all have an influence on the outcome. As farmers, we must produce enough food to feed a growing population while addressing climate change, and we need 18 Members of Parliament who will help us deliver a sustainable and profitable future for all UK farmers.”

Mr Irvine mentioned that this would not only give farmers confidence in their family farms, but politicians would be ensuring that the UK population had access to local food.

It would also ensure that the environment was cared for by ‘the caring hands of men and women who farm the land’, the UFU president stated.

“The future of the family farm structure is at a crossroads, producing sustainable produce and energy but with a poor reward.

“Now it is time for our politicians to do what is right by our farm families and help our agri-industry to thrive in the next parliamentary term.”