Vice President's Blog - 14 February

Are you suffering from the post-AGM blues asks NFU Scotland Vice President Gary Mitchell?

Well, I must confess, when I got home last Friday after the hugely successful NFU Scotland AGM, annual dinner and conference, I was shattered.

But, on reflection, I felt it was a brilliant two days.   Not only to hear from some excellent speakers but a great opportunity for networking between members, Government, politicians and other organisations at a dinner that featured delicious tender beef kindly provided by Scotbeef.

I was very encouraged by the higher number of the younger generation at the AGM but disappointed at the lack of new faces getting into our committees.

Myself, along with the top team, want to see what we, as a union, can do to attract more young blood.

Some people may still have an image that the union is more for the gentry farmers that are able to take time off and attend meetings at a day’s notice, but I can assure you that’s no longer the case.
So how can we ensure member meetings are better attended?  Does the time that they are held need to be alternated between day and night to suit different members?  Can the agendas be improved? Could more meetings make use of video apps like Facetime or Skype so people who can’t attend can still be involved from their office.

Maybe using social media like WhatsApp to connect with your regional mangers seems less formal but very quick if you have an issue needing addressed.

The capacity of mobile phones means everything is possible.  If you are in your supermarket and you see poor labelling, take a picture and send it in.  I can guarantee that Lindsey, our food policy manager would follow up within 24hrs.
Momentum behind Women in agriculture also gathered pace at the AGM.  I think it is a great initiative, and I know that no woman wants treated differently from fellow man.  Looking to the future, I see far more women coming up the ranks than the men.  In a lot of cases, it’s the women who are the realists on the farm as they tend to be far more up to speed on what money is going out and how little coming back into the business while the male farmer tends to be the optimist.

All I can say is that, when out recruiting new members, it’s the generally the lady of the business that needs convincing. 
We, as a union, also hope to build an even stronger relationship with SAYFC and its Agri affairs team to help future proof our union for many years to come.  A big part of this is recruitment.

There has never been a stronger case to be part of the union and 2018 will be a big year for getting out on farm to speak face to face with potential members.  If you know anyone in your area who needs a visit, please let your regional manager know and we will attend to it promptly.


Author: Gary Mitchell

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Andrew Moir

1218 days ago

Cant agree more with the lady of the business being very knowledgeable about the business and the politics that surround it. Finishing on a Friday afternoon certainly better for staff and office bearers allowing a quick recharge before resuming normal activities on Monday. Well done to all. Andrew.
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