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Agricultural Holdings, Greening and Constitutional Change on Council Agenda

NFU Scotland members will debate agricultural holdings legislation; changes to the Union’s constitution and controversial greening rules when its council meets at SNH Battleby, near Perth on Wednesday 29 October.

The morning session will kick off with a presentation on the work of Scotland’s Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group (AHLRG) by group member Andrew Thin. The AHLRG is considering legislative changes to Scotland’s land tenancy system and is due to publish its final report in December.

In the afternoon, NFUS Chief Executive Scott Walker will launch a consultation with members looking at the Union’s constitution and possible changes that it wants members to consider.  These include changes to the term of office served by vice presidents; the size and structure of the Union’s Board of Directors including giving the NFUS new generation group a permanent seat on the Board and formalising Orkney and Shetland becoming individual regions replacing the existing joint status.

The ‘greening’ element of the new CAP, to apply from 2015 onwards, is finally taking shape.  The afternoon session will hear from Scotland’s Chief Agricultural Officer Drew Sloan on the implementation rules to be attached to those controversial greening measures.

Speaking ahead of the Council meeting, Chief Executive Scott Walker said:
“As with recent years, the NFUS annual Council meeting remains open to all members to attend, giving them an excellent platform to air their views.     And with important guest speakers attending, there is plenty of meat in the two main sessions for them to get their teeth into and join in the debate.  

“Despite clarification on greening measures in the last few weeks, many farmers are still struggling to comprehend the complexity that complying with greening measures presents.   Our greening session with Scotland’s Chief Agricultural Officer will set out the rules and the measures individual businesses may wish to consider if they are to comply with the rules that kick in from January 2015.   

“With Scottish Government committed to a greening review process before 2016 - and European Commissioner Elect, Phil Hogan proposing a simplification agenda - greening is set for more changes and it is important that members give their views.

 “Before the end of the year the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group (AHLRG) will publish its final report.   For now, they are sense checking some of their current ideas.   

“Our Council meeting gives our members the opportunity to give their views on the direction the group is taking and to provide feedback.   The one thing everyone agrees on is the need for a healthy and vibrant tenanted sector and now we are into the closing stages of influencing the proposals that will emerge from this review.

“While constitution changes at NFU Scotland may not grab the headlines, we need to ensure that we have a constitution that is fit for the way we operate as a modern representative membership organisation.  That is why the debate around changes to our constitution will commence at council and be rolled out to branches for consideration later this autumn.” 

Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland’s annual council meeting will take place on Wednesday, 29 October at Scottish Natural Heritage, Battleby Conference Centre, Redgorton, Perth, PH1 3EW.  All members of the media are invited to attend.  Please contact media@nfus.org.uk or call Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006
  • The Council Programme is as follows:
    • 11.00am     Introduction and Welcome – Nigel Miller, President
    • 11.15am     Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group – Chaired by President Nigel Miller.  There will be a presentation by Andrew Thin and he will be joined by the following panel: John Smith (Legal and Technical Committee Chairman), Malcolm McCall (Tenants Working Group chairman), Iain Mackay (New Generation Group chairman and member of AHLRG)
    • 12.30pm     Lunch
    • 1.15pm       NFUS proposed constitutional changes – Scott Walker, Chief Executive
    • 1.45pm       Greening, where are we now and what next? – Chaired by Vice President Rob Livesey.  There will be a presentation on implementation by Scotland’s Chief Agricultural Officer Drew Sloan and he will be joined by the following panel: Gary Mitchell (Milk Committee Chairman), Charlie Adam (Livestock Committee Chairman), Gerald Banks (Environment and Land Use Committee Chairman) and Vice President Allan Bowie.
    • 3.00pm Close
  • Proposed constitution discussion
    • Orkney and Shetland each to be made a region in their own right.
    • With the number of regions increasing, the number of places on each commodity committee to be increased from 13 places to 14 places.
    • The New Generation group to be made into a formal committee rather than a working group.
    • Nominations for committee chairman to be received at least 14 calendar days before the meeting where elections are to take place.
    • The proxy vote system for committee chairman to be formalised and brought into line with the system which operates for the election of the President and Vice Presidents.
    • Nomination for regional chairman to be received at least 14 calendar days before the meeting where elections are to take place.
    • The proxy vote system for regional chairman to be formalised and brought into line with the system which operate for the election of the President and Vice Presidents.
    • Remove the 5 year rule for Board members and replace it with a 5 year limitation on any regional chairman position or committee position.
    • The terms of office for Vice Presidents to be changed from a single year to two years for the first term of office.

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 165/14


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