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NFU Scotland AGM: Race is on for union's next leadership team

As Nigel Miller steps down after four years at the helm, the union’s current vice-presidents Allan Bowie and Rob Livesey will stand against current combinable crops board chairman Andrew Moir in the battle to succeed him.


The elections will take place tomorrow (Tuesday) at the union’s AGM and council meeting in St Andrews. Land reform, CAP and the implications of the no vote to the independence referendum will be high on the agenda as political heavyweights including Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead and Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael address NFUS members.


Mr Livesey and Mr Moir will also stand for the two new vice presidential positions along with Andrew McCornick, Kelvin Pate and John Smith.


Hustings events have been taking place throughout January at regional board AGMs the length and breadth of Scotland.

CAP negotiations

Mr Bowie, an arable farmer from north east Fife, has served as a vice-president for the last five years, gaining valuable experience working for all sectors of the industry.


A key player in the union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) negotiations, he believes the next part of the policy’s implementation is equally as important.


He is pitched against mixed farmer Rob Livesey, Melrose, Borders, who served as the union’s livestock committee chairman for four years.


Mr Livesey believes his experience of the industry leaves him best positioned to continue the work of the outgoing president.


Laurencekirk farmer Andrew Moir’s time as combinable crops committee chairman has given him a good grounding in policy formulation, political lobbying and member representation in Edinburgh and Brussels.


Mr Moir believes this, coupled with his wider agribusiness experience including his time as chairman of Ringlink and at AgriScot, sees him as the right candidate for the job.


The race for the two vice-presidential roles will also be hotly contested.


Beef and sheep farmer Andrew McCornick of Barnbackle, Dumfries, has been a member of the union for many years and sits on the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme committee as well as being regional board chairman for Dumfries and Galloway.


Kelvin Pate runs a mixed farm near Gifford and has been involved with the union for more than 10 years after starting as a livestock monitor. He is currently the chairman of Quality Meat Scotland’s Peebles monitor farm.


Kintyre farmer John Smith served five years on the board of directors as chairman of the legal and technical committee. He has also been a member of the remunerations and finance committees, as well as being a past national chairman of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs.


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Candidates standing for president

Allan Bowie, Strathkinness High Road, St Andrews

  • Sees an increased need to engage with others within the supply chain to thrash out a better understanding of margins and a realisation of the true cost of food
  • Regarding CAP, the union has to fight hard to make sure implementation is fair and does not get ‘bogged down’ in bureaucracy
  • Believes a strong union presence will be needed as increased volatility in prices becomes the norm

Rob Livesey, Catshawhill, Melrose

  • Believes engagement with the consumer is paramount if sector is to flourish
  • The employment of young people within agriculture and NFU Scotland must be stepped up and new generation group must be nurtured
  • Tenanted sector must be protected

Andrew Moir, Thornton Mains, Howe O the Mearns

  • Keen to make sure the voices of Scotland’s farmers are heard at Holyrood, Westminster and in Europe
  • Will push for a midterm review of CAP, including simplification of greening rules
  • Press EU to stabilise markets affected by Russian trade ban, especially milk

Candidates standing for vice presidential posts:

Andrew McCornick, Barnbackle, Dumfries

  • Andrew and wife Janice farm their 230-hectare (568-acre) unit near Dumfries with 600 breeding ewes, 160 suckler cows and a small herd of pedigree charolais cattle
  • Became more involved with the union when the consultation for the Nithsdale Nitrate Vulnerable Zone came out
  • Has a passion for the industry and believes all sectors are interdependent

Kelvin Pate, Gifford, East Lothian

  • Farms with his wife Wendy and three teenage sons, running 800 ewes, 60 suckler cows and finishing 200 dairy bulls
  • Grows 1,000 bales of hay/silage and 50 acres of spring barley
  • Former chairman of the union’s livestock committee and worked with Lantra and QMS developing the initial idea of a Level 2 apprenticeship for agriculture

John Smith, Kintyre, Argyll and Bate

  • Farms in partnership with his wife Ruth and the farm carries 350 pedigree Holsteins with a similar number of followers on land nearby
  • President of the Kintyre branch
  • Would like to maintain ‘two-way feedback’ from members to the board and policy unit
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