AgriSearch Chairman James Campbell welcomes new trustees John Martin and Oisin Murnion

THE AgriSearch board of trustees has welcomed the appointment of two new members, Oisin Murnion and John Martin.

A Kilkeel hill farmer Oisin pioneered conservation grazing in Northern Ireland using Galloway cattle in sensitive environments including the Mournes, sand dune coastal landscapes and Strangford Lough islands. A former UK chairman of the National Beef Association Oisin is adamant that retaining viable farm businesses in our uplands is the best means of protecting these fragile landscapes.

John Martin of Gordonall, Greyabbey is a Focus Farmer, who has hosted many thought provoking farm visits especially for those interested in lamb production. He also works closely with AFBI researchers in trials selected for support by AgriSearch.

His flock of 520 ewes are bred and managed with an emphasis on reducing labour costs and maximising returns from grass. Aside from cereals grown for use on the farm John also produces woodchip fuel from short rotation coppiced willow.

Oisin and John will serve in a voluntary capacity on the AgriSearch board as independent farmer members. They have been appointed following the untimely death last year of dairy farmer Seamus Haughey and the retirement of hill farmer Nigel McLaughlin from the position of trustee after the maximum term of service.

The other board members are James Campbell, David Workman, Mervyn King, Mary McCormack, Ian Marshall, Douglas Rowe, Henry Jordan, William Hanna and Phelim O’Neill.