Covid makes NFU Scotland 2022 AGM online only

Another scalp in the farming calendar has been claimed by the Covid pandemic with the rising number of cases resulting in NFU Scotland’s 2022 AGM - which was due to take place in Glasgow early next month - converted to an on-line only event.

Martin Kennedy
Martin Kennedy

The union said that plans for the annual bash, including the conference and annual dinner- which has always been viewed as a highlight of the Scottish agricultural calendar - had been initially been drawn u[p on a hybrid basis, where speakers and a limited audience would have met in Glasgow on 10 and 11 February, with virtual proceedings being available for others to watch simultaneously at home.

But with Covid cases at an exceptionally high level, the “deeply regrettable” decision to axe the physical part of the programme was taken by the union’s Board of Directors who said the health and safety of all potential attendees was paramount.

Union president Martin Kennedy said that while the programme was being finalised, those who wished to register for the online AGM and conference could do so at the union’s website.

He also said that the union would consider rescheduling its annual dinner for later in the year if this was likely to be feasible.

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“NFU Scotland’s AGM, conference and annual dinner holds a special place in the Scottish farming calendar,” said Kennedy. “While all involved in this tremendous event will have wished for a return to normality, the Covid pandemic continues to wreak havoc with events and plans.

He said that the board of directors had been unanimous in its decision that the key event went ahead – but that all the proceedings would be conducted fully online:

“It is a format that worked incredibly well in February 2021 when we delivered a fantastic AGM and conference to a large online audience.

“With the conference programme for #NFUS2022 almost finalised, I can promise those who join us online an event packed with political engagement, policy debate and an insight into the role of social media in promoting our industry’s positive messages.”

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He said that set against the backdrop of Brexit one-year on and the ongoing impact of Covid, discussions and presentations around future farm policy, trade, input prices, labour availability and farm assurance would ensure ‘something for everyone’ to get engaged with.

“Face-to-face meetings and social gatherings will always be a hugely important part of NFU Scotland and are at the core of how we engage and interact with our members. While we all wish for more normal times, taking this important event online for the second year in a row will still ensure that the most important issues for our food and farming sector remain front and centre as we move into 2022.”

*South of the border, the English NFU were yesterday still pinning their hopes on a physical event taking place for their AGM on February 22nd and 23rd but a spokesperson said that the situation was being kept under review and in line with government guidance.

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