Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings
1.30 p.m. The meeting commenced in Open Session
There were no apologies.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to move to agenda items 3, 5, 6 and 7.
2. Minutes of the meeting 5 March 2013
Agreed: The Committee agreed the minutes of the meeting held on 5 March 2013.
1.31 p.m. Mrs Dobson and Mr Hazzard joined the meeting.
3. Oral briefing Agri-Food Strategy Board: Progress Report
The following Departmental officials and representative of the Agri-Food Strategy Board (AFSB) joined the meeting at 1.32 p.m.
Tony O'Neill, Chairperson AFSB
David Thompson, Deputy Secretary
Colette McMaster, Assistant Secretary
1.33 p.m. Mr Buchanan and Mr Irwin joined the meeting.
1.35 p.m. Mr Byrne joined the meeting.
Mr Irwin declared an interest as a farmer.
1.55 p.m. Mr McCarthy left the meeting.
1.56 p.m. Mr Hazzard left the meeting.
2.00 p.m. Mrs Dobson left the meeting.
2.03 p.m. Mr McMullan left the meeting.
2.15 p.m. Mr Swann left the meeting.
The officials briefed the Committee and this was followed by a question and answer session.
4. Oral briefing Livestock and Meat Commission: Horsemeat DNA Contamination of Beef Products
The following representatives of the Livestock and Meat Commission joined the meeting at 2.15 p.m.
Pat O'Rourke, Chairman
Ian Stevenson, Chief Executive
Conal Donnelly, Economist
The representatives briefed the Committee and this was followed by a question and answer session.
2.20 p.m. Mrs Dobson rejoined the meeting.
2.32 p.m. Mr Buchanan left the meeting.
Mr Irwin declared an interest as a farmer who is a member of the Farm Quality Assurance Scheme.
Mrs Dobson declared an interest that her husband is a member of the Farm Quality Assurance Scheme.
2.58 p.m. Mr Byrne left the meeting.
3.00 p.m. Mr McMullan rejoined the meeting.
5. Oral briefing Food Standards Agency: Horsemeat DNA Contamination of Beef Products
The following representatives from the Food Standards Agency and DARD joined the meeting at 3.03 p.m.
Maria Jennings, Head of Dietary Health Standards and Incidents
Rod Ainsworth, Director of Legal Services
David Torrens, Deputy Veterinary Officer, DARD
The representatives briefed the Committee and this was followed by a
question and answer session.
3.08 p.m. Mr Byrne rejoined the meeting.
3.10 p.m. Mr Irwin left the meeting.
3.12 p.m. Mr Clarke left the meeting.
3.16 p.m. Mr Swann rejoined the meeting.
3.27 p.m. Mr Irwin rejoined the meeting.
3.35 p.m. Mr Buchanan rejoined the meeting.
6. Chairperson's Business
The Chairperson advised the Committee that the Deputy Chairperson had represented the Committee at a meeting of Chairpersons of Agriculture and Fisheries Committees of the EU Member States Dublin on 11 March 2013. A note of the meeting will follow in due course.
Agreed: A press release would issue from the Committee on this event.
Agreed: The Chairperson advised the Committee that due to the unavailability of a number of Members, the visit to AFBI on 14 March 2013 may have to be deferred. Members agreed that unless at least five Members were available to attend the visit, it should be deferred.
7. Matters arising
Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the PSNI following the meeting to discuss agri-crime. The Committee agreed to write to the NFU to ask for the statistics it compiles in its annual report on agri-crime and to ask if it has a working relationship with the PSNI on such matters.
Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department on the EU Commission Work Programme.
Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department on the location of the second badger sett survey.
Noted: The Committee noted the monthly update from the Department on Schmallenberg Virus.
Noted: The Committee noted the weekly update from the Department on Ash Dieback.
Noted: The Committee noted the submission from Dr Pol Mac Cana, Carntogher Community Association on tree disease.
Agreed: The Committee noted the group notes from the stakeholder event on tree disease and agreed that they should be placed in the Committee website and attendees notified that this has happened.
8. SL1 Zoonoses (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2013
Agreed: The Committee agreed with the merits of the policy.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to ask for information on the level of fees applied across the UK.
9. SL1 Trade in Animals and Related Products (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2013
Agreed: The Committee agreed with the merits of the policy.
Agreed: The Committee noted the copied correspondence from the UFU to the Minister on Axis 3 – Measure 3.1 Farm Diversification Budget and agreed to ask the Minister to copy the Committee into her response to the UFU.
Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the RSPB on its report on Upland Grazing.
Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister on the Investing Strategy Activity Report for DARD February 2013.
Noted: The Committee noted the invitation from the ETI Committee to a farm safety focus farm visit and factory tour on 21 March 2013.Mr Frew, Mr Byrne, Mr Buchanan, Mrs Dobson and Mr Irwin indicated that they would be attending.
11. Forward Work Programme
Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a Committee meeting at Mount Stewart on Thursday 13 June 2013 in place of the regular Tuesday meeting. Members were requested to put this date into the diary.
Noted: The Committee noted that the DARD oral briefing on the Business Plan scheduled for 19 March 2013 has now been deferred. The Committee noted that an oral briefing on CAP Reform has now been scheduled for 19 March 2013.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister, the UFU and NIAPA to seek their comments on a USPCA email to Committee Members regarding a deer hunt which took place in an area in County Down which has been identified for the TVR Wildlife Intervention Research.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Rivers Agency to ask what assessment is conducted prior to the dredging of rivers.
13. Date of the next meeting
Agreed: The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development will take place on Tuesday 19 March 2013 at
1.30 p.m. in Room 30, Parliament Buildings.
The meeting adjourned at 4.11 p.m.
Paul Frew, Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development