Brexit a double-edged sword for Northern Irish agri-food sector
The jury is out on the impact Brexit will have on the North's £4.7billion agri-food and livestock feed sector
Northern Ireland farmers could end up paying less for their livestock feed post Brexit depending on which trading deals are sorted out between nations.
Northern Ireland will be the only part of the UK that physically borders the European Union which will present trading challenges between the two Irish countries.
However, Brexit brings a chance for the feed companies to import grains from countries outside the EU that will maintain tariff-free trading agreements with the UK.
But, for the livestock feed companies based in the north, Brexit will make exporting feed to neighbouring Republic of Ireland costly, depending on the trading arrangements that are developed.
Thompsons Feeds is known as the largest multi-species feed mill in all of Europe and it just happens to be based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Company chief executive officer Declan Billington said Brexit could give the industry access to GM crops in the UK.
Mr Billington said: "If I was to sum up Brexit in one word it would be, uncertainty. Uncertainty in every aspect of our business.
"With 30pc of Northern Ireland production exported outside the UK and with EU tariffs on milk and beef products operating in the 50pc range on exports to Europe, exports become impossible without a trade agreement.