Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council has the fourth largest agriculture sector in Northern Ireland (NI) accounting for 13% of NI, with 3,431 farms contributing approximately £376 million in goods value and farm support payments into the local economy, providing employment in the agriculture sector and to 265 local agribusinesses which the industry supports.  The council already operates strong facilities and initiatives such as Food Heartland, Tannaghmore Rare Breeds Animal Farm and Farm Watch Scheme.

Designed to be in line with the findings of the Independent Strategic Review of the Northern Ireland Agri-Food Sector (ISRAF), the Green Growth Strategy and to work alongside the Mid South West (MSW) Regional Economic Strategy amongst others, it is the objective of this strategy to provide practical recommendations to enable the council to best support agriculture, agri-food and agri tech, helping to develop long term viability in the sector.

Emerging from exploring the key themes outlined in the main document, and following engagement with council departments, key stakeholders, farmers and businesses, ten practical and achievable recommendations have been identified;

  1. Expand and evolve Food Heartland
  2. Develop a method of communicating regularly and clearly with all agriculture and agribusinesses in the borough
  3. Develop a plan to facilitate skills development in agriculture and agribusinesses
  4. Appoint ’Agriculture Champions’ for the borough
  5. Develop an ’Agriculture Centre’ for advice, training, demonstrations, and research
  6. Facilitate structural upgrading
  7. ABC rural strategy
  8. Further studies in sectors related to the agriculture industry
  9. Agri-food development
  10. Promote the health and wellbeing of farmers and rural dwellers

Communication will play a large role in the effective delivery of this strategy.  If you would like to get involved in the development of the action plan and implementation, please complete the agri engagement form.

For further information or queries please email


Held at Lurgan’s historic Gracehall, the high profile launch event saw guests from across the diverse agri sector and featured keynote speeches from former NFU President Sir Peter Kendall and BBC Countryfile’s Adam Henson.

The launch event brought together industry experts for a panel discussion on the future of agriculture.  Compered by local business editor and part-time farmer David Elliott, the lively session heard insights and analysis from Professor John Gilliland OBE (Director of Agriculture & Sustainability, Devenish), Dr. Elizabeth Magowan (Director of Sustainable Agri-Food Sciences Division), Mr Simon Best (Acton House Farm), Dr. Jonathan Birnie, (Director of Birnie Consultancy Ltd.) and Mrs Olga Murtagh (ABC Council Strategic Director).With addresses from Mr Roger Wilson (ABC Council Chief Executive) and Birnie Consultancy’s Dr. Jonathan Birnie, the event saw closing remarks from Chair of Council’s Economic Development and Regeneration Committee, Councillor Declan McAlinden.