While this week’s NFU seminar at AgriScot might have been somewhat lower key than normal, it has been revealed that the union’s agm in February is likely to be a lively affair, with both the presidential and vice-presidential positions being contested.
Current NFUS president Allan Bowie will be challenged by vice-president, Andrew McCornick. Bowie, who farms in Fife and Stirlingshire, will complete his first two-year term in February and has announced that he will be standing for re-election.
However, McCornick – who farms in Dumfries-shire and first joined the top team in 2015 – has promised a different style of leadership and looks set to take an all-or-nothing approach by not putting his name forward for a vice-president position.
The other serving vice-president, Rob Livesey from the Borders, who has held this position since 2013, said he is currently considering his options.
Two more names have so far been put forward for the vice-president positions. Dumfries & Galloway regional chairman, Gary Mitchell, a past chairman of the milk committee, has indicated that he will stand, as has Less Favoured Areas committee chairman Martin Kennedy, who farms in Highland Perthshire.
Further nominations for both positions can be made up to 12 December.
• While no women’s names have yet been put forward for the union’s top position, a major conference looking at the role of women in agriculture attracted an audience of more than 250 earlier in the week.
Aimed at raising the profile of women who work in the agricultural and rural or land-based industries, the attendance list at the Women in Agriculture included farmers and crofters, accountants, land agents, secretaries, administrators, retailers, agri-tourism owners, researchers and consultants.
Opening the event, Professor Sally Shortall, who holds the Duke of Northumberland Chair of Rural Economy at Newcastle University, highlighted recent social changes in farming practice and the links between evidence and policy in relation to women working in the sector.