Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has visited WD Meats, one of two Northern Ireland beef processors to be granted access to the US market for the first time in 20 years, in an historic moment for local farmers.
Two local processors, Foyle Food Group and WD Meats, were listed as meat plants eligible to export meat to the United States, alongside one other UK processor from Wales. The first shipment of beef from the UK, was dispatched on 30 September, from Foyle Food Group, Foyle Campsie with further shipments from across the UK expected to commence in the coming weeks.
Welcoming the move, the Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots said: “I am very proud that the first shipment of UK beef to the USA came from a Northern Ireland beef processor. It is a signal, loud and clear, of the quality of our produce, the standards of our animal health, welfare and of our care for the environment.
“This opens up a massive opportunity for local farmers, the likes of which we haven’t had in two decades. Our local farmers are known and rightly credited for quality of the food they produce and its provenance. I’ve no doubt that our food will speak for itself and we will see further opportunities down the line.
“The UK food and farming industry estimates it will bring a £66 million boost to beef producers over the next five years alone and Northern Ireland too will receive part of that economic uplift.”
The Minister continued: “This is fantastic news for Northern Ireland’s food industry, and I don’t want it to stop there. I want to do all I can to promote Northern Ireland’s amazing food and its producers, both locally and at international level, and help build Northern Ireland’s reputation as a world class food region.
“I’d finally like to thank everyone involved behind the scenes, who have worked long and hard to get this deal done.”