Jonnie Hall, the director of policy with NFU Scotland, is to take up a secondment with the Scottish Government’s agriculture department to help assist and inform – and “sense check” – Brexit negotiations and proposals for future farm strategy.
The union said it had been keen to keep the needs of the country’s farming industry centre stage in the Brexit debate – and Hall’s two-day-a week appointment would ensure that the important issues were addressed with a practical eye.
“Scottish agriculture needs people at the heart of Brexit talks who have a real depth of experience and knowledge,” said union president Allan Bowie, “and it is in the best interests of the whole Scottish agricultural sector that Jonnie Hall forms part of the team looking at securing the best outcome for farming from Brexit and setting future agricultural policy.”
He said that the move, which is believed to be unique, recognised the fact that there was a huge workload to be completed in a relatively short space of time – and while many different theories and abstract policies had been put forward for what was best for Scotland’s rural areas, it was crucial that these were filtered through a sense of realism.
Well-known thorughout the farming industry, Hall has been involved with agricultural and rural policy for more than 30 years.
After an academic and consultancy career, Hall moved north to join the Scottish Landowners’ Federation in January 1998 to lead their policy work on agriculture and land use issues and moved to the union in 2007.