Half of Northern Ireland's sheep farmers face ruin from a no-deal Brexit - UFU
Half of Northern Ireland's sheep farmers would be out of business in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to Ivor Ferguson, President of the Ulster Farmer's Union.
Ivor Ferguson told Drivetime this evening that there is a lot of concern about the logistics of customs checks, and where such checks would be located, but his main concern is who will pick up the bill for tariffs.
He said 50pc of lambs produced in Northern Ireland go south of the border, but these would face a tariff of £40 per lamb in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Ferguson said the sheep business is not a lucrative one for farmers and such tariffs would put many farmers out of business.
"I would face a tariff of £40 a lamb... that's the concern. I'm pretty convinced they can find a way to do the checks OK, but who will pay the money?"
He said it is no surprise that the UFU support British Prime Minister Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement, given that between 70pc and 80pc of goods produced in Northern Ireland go elsewhere.
"We have always stated that we want unfettered access to our largest market, which is the UK market, but we also want to be able to trade north-south and also with all other EU Member States".
Mr Ferguson said the UFU was not a political organisation, and as such does not take political positions, but nonetheless he said members are 'very disappointed' at the lack of devolved government at Stormont.
"At a crucial time like this we don't have anyone to represent us... and we find that is unacceptable".
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