Vice President's Blog - 24 November 2017

I wouldn’t recommend two shows in one week - especially if they are in two different countries writes Vice President Gary Mitchell.

I would call Agriscot the realistic show and Agritechnica the fantasy one.

Agriscot was very busy and again run very smoothly.  I must say well done to Andrew Moir for his commitment to making this one the best-known agriculture events in the UK.

All trade stands I have spoken to over the last few years say this is the one show farmers come to do business and I hope they found this year exceptionally good.

The next chairman has a brilliant role to take up and I know Robert Neill will be very capable at keeping Agriscot in the forefront.

The seminars this year were the least controversial for a few years with Fergus Ewing’s humour in top form.  I was delighted at his announcement in setting up a weather advisory panel which I will be a part of.  

I believe this year is the new ‘1985’.  In my area the ground can’t get any wetter and I know further north it gets worse.  Winter forage will be very scarce before we get anywhere near Spring, and many farms will face crisis if no action is taken.

At home, we have measured and sampled every silage pit to calculate how many tonnes we have to feed so we know exactly how much we’ve got.  My advice is to do this now - not in January - and don’t carry anymore cattle than you have to.

On the Friday after AgriScot, 12 NFU Scotland board members and 3 senior staff headed for Agritechnica in Hannover and, for me, it was a 1am start from Stranraer to Edinburgh airport.

We made it into the show for 11.30am after 2 flights, then walked for six hours solid but still only saw half the exhibition.
It is a fabulous show but, my word, the tackle is getting to serious size in ‘lbs’ and ‘£££’s’.

Due to confidentiality agreements, I cannot say anything about post 6pm but it is amazing how tired you can get in a one hr time zone change.

In a return to reality this week I attended the Brexit road show at Castle Douglas on Wednesday night.  It was well attended and the group breakout sessions were very useful and great to hear farmers want change.

On Thursday, I had a rural skills class from my local school on farm.  A third of the group had a real genuine interest in agriculture for a career and. to top it all, I had a message on Facebook from one of the students looking for a weekend job.

At night, I took part in careers night at Douglas Ewart in Newton Stewart which is a first for me but I was really enjoyed it and encouraged by the interest shown.

If anyone reading this is serious about attracting labour please contact me or your local “Developing Young Work force” board in your area.  They will help connect your business with schools.

Lastly, I am delighted after my first wages board meeting that we got pre-apprenticeship approval for a £5/hr rate based on the Ringlink scheme - so watch this space as we hope to see this spread to similar schemes throughout Scotland.

Author: Gary Mitchell

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Andrew Moir

1511 days ago

Thanks for kind comments re-AgriScot and for your continued support of Ringlink pre-apprenticeship scheme.
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