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Aberfeldy hill farmer Martin Kennedy becomes NFU Scotland president

NFU Scotland has a new presidential team following today’s (Feb 12) online election.

Martin Kennedy
Martin Kennedy

Former Farmers Guardian In Your Field writer, Aberfeldy hill farmer Martin Kennedy is the new president following a four year stint as vice-president. He was unopposed for the top job.

 

The two vice-presidential posts were however contested by four candidates, with Andrew Connon from Aberdeenshire and Robin Traquair from Midlothian ultimately winning through.

 

The two-stage voting process saw Fife farmer and former NSA Scotland manager George Milne eliminated in the first round followed by Renfrewshire beef, sheep and arable producer Willie Harper in the second round

 

President, Martin Kennedy, is a tenant farmer in Highland Perthshire and farms with his wife Jane and three daughters.

 

They have 600 ewes and 60 cows on a farm rising from 800ft to over 2,500ft.

 

He chaired the Less Favoured Areas committee for three years before being as elected a vice-president in 2017.

 

Commercial

 

Vice-president Andrew Connon and his family run a small commercial sheep flock at their home near Ellon.

 

He was brought up on the neighbouring farm is which is still run by his father, uncles and cousin.

 

After graduating from Aberdeen University with a Hons Degree in General Agriculture he joined Velcourt as a trainee farm manager in South East England before returning to a farm management position in Aberdeenshire.

 


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He then embarked on a commercial career in agricultural finance before joining the family-owned machinery business of A M Phillip initially as a Branch Manager before becoming a director and latterly dealer principal until the business was sold in 2018.

 

For the past two years, Mr Connon has been working with Hectare Agritech which runs the online marketplaces SellMyLivestock and Graindex. He completed the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Course in 2010

 

Young Farmers

 

In his youth he was heavily involved in Young Farmers. Currently he is secretary of Methlick Farmers Ball and is a member of Ythanside Farmers Club and Discussion Group.

 

He has been a member of NFUS for 20 years with New Deer Branch and is a former branch chairman. He has been on the regional board for several years having been elected a vice- chairman of the region in 2017 before taking on the North East regional chairman role in Jan 2020.

Vice-president Robin Traquair farms at Wellington Farm, Millerhill, Dalkeith, Midlothian.

 

Family farm

 

After a period of managing a pig and beef herd in Switzerland, he returned to his family farm in Midlothian, taking on the management in his mid-twenties. He farms there with his wife Anna and they have three children of school and university age.

 

He currently farms 350 indoor sows taking stock from farrow to finish, and selling the progeny through Scotlean, a farmer-based co-op of which Mr Traquair is a director.

 

Pigs are also supplied into the wholesale market in Edinburgh. To advance the business in 2010, he was the first farmer in the UK to import a high health SPF commercial and nucleus herd of Danbred sows.

 

Grain

 

He currently buys 1,500 tonnes of grain a year from local merchants and farmers.

 

In his youth he was a member of South Midlothian JAC and was National Chairman of SAYFC in 1999-2000. Shortly afterwards he became NFU Scottish Pigs Chairman and sat on the Remunerations committee.

 

He was the Scottish representative on the British Pig Executive, a part of the MLC, for several years and was chairman of South of Scotland Pig Producers discussion group.

 

In 2017 he took part in the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme.

 

He currently sits on the UK Pig Disease Eradication Fund Board. He is currently Lothian and Borders NFU chairman.

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