Northern Ireland

EU referendum analysis: How will Leave vote affect Northern Ireland's farmers?

farm
Image caption Fresh fields: What does the future for farmers look like?

The result of the referendum means significant changes for farming in Northern Ireland.

But not immediately.

The focus now will be on the negotiations for leaving the EU, expected to take at least two years, and what domestic arrangements are arrived at to support agriculture.

Leave campaigners said EU subsidies would be replaced and possibly improved if there were a Brexit.

For Northern Ireland farmers, that would mean at least £260m a year coming from the exchequer in support payments.

Remain campaigners had cautioned that successive British governments had been no fans of subsidies.

They had also claimed agriculture would be well down the pecking order when it came to the re-allocation of the UK contribution to the EU budget.

The other big issue for our export orientated agri-food industry will be whether we would have unfettered access to the EU's single market.

If not, what tariffs and other non-tariff barriers might our exporters face to trade into Europe?

Part of that will be what the border with the Republic of Ireland will look like and how it will operate.

We sold them £560m worth of dairy, bakery, sheep and beef, animal feed, pig and poultry and other products in 2014.

Producers will want to keep their market share and will hope customs arrangements will not add cost or delay.

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