Kenny Slater Retires as Snr. Group Secretary After 23 Years in Post at Union’s Kirkwall Office

Kenny Slater retired from his role as Snr. Group Secretary in the Kirkwall office this week, after 23 years in the role. Kenny started his post on 1st May 1998 and has been Group Secretary alongside 13 different Orkney Branch Chairmen.

Kenny took over the role during a difficult time for farming in Orkney, with a succession of bad weather years, poor commodity prices, and ongoing challenges with BSE and the Foot and Mouth Disease crisis which unfolded not long after.

Throughout his career, Kenny has worked collaboratively with a number of agencies and organisations in order to support farming in Orkney, and over the years has seen many CAP reforms, LFASS, and huge changes to agricultural payments.

Describing the highlight of his tenure as securing the Island Beef Calf Scheme, Kenny said: “members across Orkney put a serious amount of work into that. We were confident that we had put forward a good case at a meeting that had been secured by Orkney MSP Liam McArthur at the Scottish Parliament with Richard Lochhead. This meeting was pivotal in securing approximately £1 million per year for Orkney’s farmers, proving the value of the hard work being done by the Orkney NFUS for their members”.

Another continuous piece of work has been that of livestock shipping for Orkney. The Orkney Branch of NFU Scotland were one of the agencies present at a number of meetings that worked for over a decade to ensure that suitable and affordable livestock transport was secured.

Kenny also played a key role in organising the social events that the Orkney branch held over the years, including the annual dinner Orkney and Shetland jointly “hosted” in St Andrews in 2006.

Despite his eventful career, Kenny explains that what he enjoyed most were his individual meetings and discussions with members: “I’ve really enjoyed meeting folk and found it most satisfying being able to help them individually with private matters. Zoom meetings are never going to replace chewing the fat over a gate with somebody, and I’ve missed that throughout lockdown.”

On Kenny’s retirement, NFU Scotland’s Orkney Regional Policy Advisor Kerry Omand said: "Kenny has been a huge support to Orkney's members and the wider farming community. His knowledge, professional manner and good humour will be a big miss. I wish Kenny a long and happy retirement."

Steven Sandison, Orkney Chair, added: “During the time Kenny has been secretary our industry has had quite a few challenges to deal with. Kenny has been heavily involved throughout and put in a lot of work for the benefit of farmers in Orkney and further afield. We wish him all the best for the future.”

Notes for Editors:

  • A photograph of Kenny on his final day in office is attached.

Contact Ruth Oxborrow on 07823 556253

Author: Ruth Oxborrow

Date Published:

News Article No.: 92/21

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