The Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association recently held their annual general meeting and are pleased to announce a number of changes to the office bearer team. 

Niall O’Donnell has been elected to lead the association as president for the coming year.

Mr O’Donnell is General Manager of United Molasses (Ireland), a position he has held since 2015,  having previously worked in the dairy industry with Aurivo and Donegal Creameries.  As a graduate of both The University of Ulster and Queens University (MBA), Niall has spent his career in a variety of roles in the Agri-Food / Feed industry.

Niall O’Donnell has been elected to lead the association as president for the coming year.
Niall O’Donnell has been elected president of NIGTA for the coming year.

Speaking after the meeting he said “ I am honoured to be entrusted with this position at such a challenging time for the supply trade. NIGTA will continue to engage fully and contribute to the issues facing we face in the Agri-food sector. We are actively working with government to establish practical working arrangements within the Northern Ireland Protocol and our association is committed to build on the success of initiatives which are effectively reducing the emissions from farmed livestock and also reducing the risk of contaminations in the food chain.

Patrick Mc Laughlin, Chief Operating Officer with Devenish Nutrition has been elected Vice President for 2021 - 2022.

Outgoing President, David Garrett welcomed the new appointments and presented a report on the Associations activities in the last year – emphasising that Brexit and Covid-19 have tended to dominate the agenda.

David Garrett reflected on an eventful and challenging term as NIGTA president at the Associations AGM.
David Garrett reflected on an eventful and challenging term as NIGTA president at the Associations AGM.

“In spite of the significant challenges and disruptions to supply we have kept up with deliveries to our farmer customers over the past year. Thankfully a trade deal was agreed between the UK and EU at the end of the year but the Northern Ireland Protocol has brought its own complications and a significant trade barrier with Great Britain. The industry has also had to cope with a highly pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak and feed businesses and hauliers have had to be particularly vigilant in maintaining bio-security to prevent the spread of this contagious disease. The recurring themes of sustainability and the environment continue to demand our attention and the sustainability of our supply chains is becoming an increasing issue for food businesses. NIGTA is engaged with AFBI and government agencies across a range of environmental initiatives and are actively engaged in the efforts to reduce the influence of feed in Ammonia and Phosphate emissions. The executive continues to lobby government, locally and nationally, on behalf of our members and are seeking ways to have our voice heard in Brussels, given that we remain within the EU Single Market for goods but have no representation or influence there.

I would like to thank all the association’s members who have generously given of their time and expertise during the endless Brexit discussions in the past year and particularly to Lorraine Colgan who has taken over as convenor of our scientific committee. I would also like to thank all involved in our environmental training courses and in running the Food Fortress program which plays such a vital part in safeguarding our supply chains from contamination”.