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Northern Ireland considering culling badgers
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£4 million research programme to be commissioned

Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill has responded to recent criticism from the Ulster Farmer's Union (UFU) of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (DARD) policy on badger culling as a means of countering the spread of bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) by confirming that controlling the disease is a 'key priority'.

Ms O'Neill stated that “We are investing around £4million to commission a programme of TB and wildlife research and studies towards the ultimate aim of eradicating TB in cattle. We will use the evidence produced by this programme to inform a comprehensive approach that deals with all aspects of TB and will help to reduce the level of disease in cattle.”

“We already have a rigorous EU Commission approved eradication programme in place. We also need to build a sound evidence base to underpin further interventions in cattle and/or wildlife that could help to reduce TB as part of our eradication programme.” the Minister added.

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Arla to hold milk price into May

Arla Foods has announced that it is holding its milk price through to May 2015.

The UK standard litre has increased by 0.03ppl to 25.83ppl, following confirmation of the exchange rate used in the currency smoothing mechanism to convert the milk price for this quarter.

Ash Amirahmadi, Arla's head of milk and member services, commented: "Commodity markets continue to show their recent negative trend and trading conditions are difficult. We maintain our focus on maximising the returns for our members at a challenging time."