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Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced £10m of funding to commence the development of new Beef facilities at AFBI and CAFRE.

This new facilities project will integrate the future delivery of research, technology transfer and education at AFBI, Hillsborough and Greenmount Campus.

Announcing the investment, Minister Poots said: “To ensure the Northern Ireland beef industry has a vibrant future as a trading sector, we must keep pace with our competitors and aim to outperform them. The current beef facilities at AFBI and CAFRE are no longer fit for purpose and this investment will ensure that they both have the capacity to carry out leading research and demonstrate technologies which assist the delivery of education programmes that have the potential to be adopted on beef farms across Northern Ireland over the next 20 to 30 years”.

The Minister continued, “These new facilities will be critical to ensuring the positive contribution of beef production to the management of the rural environment and supporting the rural economy. In so doing the project will provide multiple long term benefits for the Northern Ireland beef industry, agri-food industry and wider economy”.

Concluding Minister Poots said, “The commitment of £10m to commence the development of these new beef facilities complements the recent launch of a £75m investment in CAFRE campuses. Together these investments will ensure AFBI and CAFRE can deliver for the future of Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry.”

Welcoming the announcement, Martin McKendry, College Director at CAFRE said, “New beef facilities at AFBI and CAFRE are strategically important, allowing greater integration in the delivery of research, technology transfer and education. This project will help forge stronger links between AFBI and CAFRE. Planning for the development of the new facilities has already commenced. The building work will have a phased approach to minimise disruption to the delivery of our programmes. I look forward to seeing the impact of this work as each stage of the project is completed.”

Dr Elizabeth Magowan of AFBI also welcomed the funding saying, “The outcomes from the integration of research, technology transfer and education to collectively address the most pressing challenges within the local beef sector will provide a step change for Northern Ireland.These facilities are fundamental to achieving maximum impact from this integrated approach and for driving further improvements in sustainable beef farming.”