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Happy 50th Birthday BAB!

Happy 50th Birthday BAB, from all at NFU Scotland.

Writing from Brussels, NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy, accompanied by Vice Presidents Andrew Connon and Robin Traquair and Chief Executive Scott Walker, has today (16 June) joined fellow UK farming unions in celebrating this momentous event.

The UK Farming Unions first established an office in Brussels in 1972 to represent the interests of UK farmers and growers as the UK joined the then European Economic Community (EEC). Officially known as the British Agriculture Bureau (BAB), 50 years later this permanent base in Brussels continues to represent the 70,000 members of the NFU, NFU Scotland, the Ulster Farmers’ Union and NFU Cymru.

BAB also represents the interests of UK farmers through its membership of Copa-Cogeca which brings together the voices of 22 million European farmers in a combined effort to promote the best interests of the agricultural sector among the EU institutions and other relevant stakeholders. This ensures that the concerns of UK farmers are heard and provides a platform to develop solutions to technical or trade barriers with the EU and beyond.

Martin writes: "For fifty years, BAB has been the eyes and ears of Scottish farmers and crofters in Europe.

"The decision, taken half a century ago, for UK farming Unions to jointly fund a permanent presence in Brussels has delivered time and time again for our membership.  It has given us a seat at the negotiating table as we navigated numerous CAP reform deals and a direct route into the European Commission and Parliament to lobby on the many pieces of legislation that have affected out industry.  

"Throughout the years, BAB has ensured that numerous NFU Scotland Presidents, Vice Presidents, committee chairs, grassroots members and staff have had been able to knock on the right doors and make our industry’s views known at the very highest level.

"Through our membership of COPA COGECA, the BAB staff have established and maintained robust working relationships with farmers across the EU, building consensus and influencing key decisions.

"In the post-Brexit, post-CAP era, retaining that permanent presence in Brussels through our BAB staff and office is crucial as we look to navigate a new era of trade with one of our most important marketplaces.  

"Set against the backdrop of a worldwide food security crisis and unprecedented cost increases, all farmers across the continent face the same huge challenge of continuing to produce quality, safe, nutritious food and drink whilst meeting our obligations to tackle emissions and improve biodiversity.  

"BAB is the cornerstone that will ensure we stand united with our fellow European farmers in meeting these challenges."
 

Author: Martin Kennedy

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About The Author

Martin Kennedy

Martin is a tenant farmer in Aberfeldy, Highland Perthshire and farms with his wife Jane and three daughters. They have 600 ewes and 60 cows on the farm rising from 800ft to 2,500ft. Martin served two years as Highland Perthshire Branch chair, before representing East Central region on the LFA committee in 2009. Martin went on to be Vice-Chair before chairing the committee for three years. He was elected Vice-President in 2017 and elected as President in 2021.

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