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Click to see what Mr Farmer thinksFind out what Mrs Farmer thinksClick to hear the interview in Real AudioClick to see the farmers daughters opinion

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"I've grown up here from I was a young fellow on the Mourne farms, here they'd be small sucklers and small sheep farms. I enjoyed it very much and I would love to farm whenever I finished. But it wouldn't pay for to farm full time. You would need to be diversifying into something else with a part-time job. The money isn't there you know. So I'm doing a HND in Food Supply management at Loughry, and during my year out I was working with the Livestock and Meat Commission, doing farm visits. The mood round the farmers is that, they aren't getting the money in and they feel that they're being treated by the people above them like - they're not getting a fair deal for prices of cattle and subsidies coming down and men is hurting. It's very hard for us going round the farms and telling them what to do and advising them, cause they just don't want to see you because they're losing money. They don't see any way out and ninety percent of the time that I would go to farms, I was speaking to the farmer's wife because the farmer, he's away at his work. He can't afford to stay at home to keep the family, so that is a sure sign of what's going on at the minute you know."

Do you think a lot of people are going to leave farming?

Farmer's son
Well they are leaving at the minute, not unless they're in a big way of going. The only chance you have, of a man being at home, is his milking dairy cows, he has to stay at home. But most suckler men, sheepmen, they're away at the part-time job, building or labouring or whatever they have to do, to make ends meet and I think that's the way it's going.

Is it BSE that's done this? (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, known as mad cow disease.)

Farmer's son
"We'll there's BSE and a whole lot of things. There's the way, there's an open market with the UK, the EU, the farmers who have to compete with the European prices of beef and sheep and they just can't afford it because most of the European farms, they're in a bigger way of going. They can produce the beef at a cheaper price and lamb at a cheaper price, but with the farms over here, they're that small, they just can't produce it at the price the foreigners can produce it and take it in. They're just not geared that way you know."


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