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Martin Kennedy to Stand Unchallenged for NFU Scotland President in February

Four to contend for two Vice Presidential posts

Highland Perthshire farmer Martin Kennedy will stand unchallenged for the position of President of NFU Scotland at the Union’s AGM on Friday 12 February 2021.



Mr Kennedy has served as a Vice President for four years.  If approved by the Union’s council, he will be elected to the post of President for a two-year term.  No other nominations for President were received by the deadline of Thursday 17 December.  Mr Kennedy will succeed Andrew McCornick who has held office for four years, the maximum term allowed under the Union’s constitution.

Four nominations for the two Vice Presidential posts have been received.  They are (in alphabetical order)

  • Andrew Connon, North Quilquox, Ythanbank, Ellon, Aberdeenshire.
  • Willie Harper, Gryffewraes, Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire.
  • George Milne, Kinaldy, St Andrews, Fife.
  • Robin Traquair, Wellington Farm, Millerhill, Dalkeith, Midlothian.

(See detailed biographies in Notes to Editors)

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, no physical hustings events will take place in January.  However, virtual events involving the candidates will be held on 22 January at 12pm to 1.30pm and on the 26 and 28 January from 7pm to 8.30pm.  Zoom details will be circulated to members in due course.

Commenting Mr Kennedy said: “It has been a privilege to represent NFU Scotland as Vice President, a role I have enjoyed immensely over the past four years.  I hope to be elected President by council in the New Year.  That would be a huge honour at a time when the changes, challenges and opportunities facing Scottish farmers and crofters are immense.

“These will be incredibly busy times for the Union, and, if elected, I will be fully committed to driving forward the work NFUS is doing on behalf of almost 9000 members across Scotland.

“Strong teamwork has always been central to NFU Scotland’s lobbying efforts.  There are four excellent candidates for the Vice-Presidential posts, and I encourage each and every member to take part in the forthcoming online hustings events, feeding back to their council members on who they believe is best suited to fill these influential posts when it comes to the vote on 12 February.”  

Notes to Editors

President Elect

Martin Kennedy, Lurgan Farm, Edradynate, Aberfeldy, Perthshire. Martin is a tenant farmer in Highland Perthshire and farms with his wife Jane and three daughters, Jillian, Katrina and Yvonne.

They have 600 ewes and 60 cows on the farm rising from 800ft to over 2,500ft.  

Martin served two years as Highland Perthshire branch chairman, before representing East Central region on the LFA committee in 2009.

Martin then went on to be vice chairman then chaired the committee for three years. He was elected Vice President in 2017.

Vice Presidential candidate

Andrew Connon, North Quilquox, Ythanbank, Ellon, Aberdeenshire.

Andrew lives with his wife Pauline, son Andrew (22) and daughter Sarah (18). They run a small commercial sheep flock. Andrew was brought up on the neighbouring farm of South Quilquox - part of the family business of A M Connon & Sons, Skilmafilly, Auchnagatt still run by his father, two uncles and cousin.  

After graduating from Aberdeen University with a Hons Degree in General Agriculture he joined Velcourt as a trainee farm manager in South East England before returning to a farm management position in Aberdeenshire.

He then embarked on a commercial career in agricultural finance with NWS Bank and then JCB Finance, In 1999 he joined the family-owned machinery business of A M Phillip initially as a Branch Manager before becoming a Director and latterly Dealer Principal until the business was sold in 2018. The past 2 years, Andrew has been working with Hectare Agritech Ltd which runs the online marketplaces SellMyLivestock and Graindex. He completed the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Course in 2010.  

In his youth he was heavily involved in Young Farmers.  Currently he is Secretary of Methlick Farmers Ball and is a member of Ythanside Farmers Club and Discussion Group.  He has been a member of NFUS for 20 years with New Deer Branch and is a former Branch Chairman. He has been on the Regional Board for several years having been elected a Vice Chairman of the Region in 2017 before taking on the North East Regional Chairman Role in Jan 2020.

Vice President Candidate

Willie Harper, Gryffewraes, Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire.

Willie Harper was brought up on the family dairy farm. He set up his own agricultural farming business at twenty-five years old.

He is married to Mairi with two grown up daughters.

The farm business comprises of tenanted land from four different landlords with various letting agreements. There are seven hundred acres of grass, mixed LFA and non LFA in Renfrewshire. He has 250 suckler cows and 200 ewes. All stock is finished on farm. He also manages a 500-acre arable contract with Houston Farms.    

Willie has been involved in many benchmarking groups including Planning to Succeed (Scottish Enterprise), Business Improvement Group at QMS and Chairman of the Clyde Monitor Farm. He has also held the post of Chairman at the West Renfrewshire Agricultural Discussion Society and was Houston and Killellan Agricultural Show President.

Willie has been a member of the Renfrewshire NFUS branch since he started farming. He became the Chairman of this branch in 2010. He then joined the Forth and Clyde Regional board for five years. Willie was elected to his current role as Regional Board Chairman four years ago in 2017.  During that time, he has hosted visits from Defra Farming Minister George Eustice and Scottish Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing.

Vice Presidential Candidate

George Milne, Kinaldy, St Andrews, Fife

After being educated at Dollar Academy. George did a year’s practical experience working at Balbuthie Farm owned by John and Margaret Cameron.  At the time John was the largest sheep farmer in Europe with 10,000 breeding ewes and 700 sucker cows where George gained invaluable experience in all aspects of livestock farming.

After qualifying with an OND in Agriculture, he returned home where he currently runs 400 breeding ewes at Lingo farm, an additional 270 ewe lambs bought for gimmering, and a small herd of pedigree Aberdeen Angus cattle. He sells 30 homebred tup lambs as shearlings each year and is a keen enthusiast of showing North Country Cheviots, receiving several top awards over the years as well as becoming president of the society in 1997.

Currently serving his second term as a board member of Quality Meat Scotland, he is Chairman of the Beef and Lamb Marketing Advisory group, Chairman of the remuneration committee and member of the Audit and risk management committee.

As Chairman of the Union’s North East Fife branch (2011-2014) and a past Vice Chairman of East Central Region he served his apprenticeship in agricultural policy work through the National Sheep Association, being both a past chairman and development officer of NSA Scotland for 18 years. During this time, he represented the sheep industry on a wide variety of stakeholder groups and joint government/ industry bodies. He has worked with both Scottish and UK government officials and Ministers on a wide variety of subjects, including LFASS, animal health and welfare, and climate change. He was also a past member of the UK Livestock Brexit group.
Since leaving the NSA, he has remained on the Scottish Government Climate Change strategic stakeholder group and as member of Livestock Health Scotland.

Vice President Candidate

Robin Traquair, Wellington Farm, Millerhill, Dalkeith, Midlothian.  

After a period of managing a pig and beef herd in Switzerland, Robin returned to his family farm in Midlothian, taking on the management in his mid-twenties. He farms there with his wife Anna and they have three children of school and university age.
He currently farms 350 indoor sows taking stock from farrow to finish, and selling the progeny through Scotlean, a farmer-based co-op of which Robin is a director.  

Pigs are also supplied into the wholesale market in Edinburgh.  To advance the business in 2010, Robin was the first farmer in the UK to import a high health SPF commercial and nucleus herd of Danbred sows, which eventually led onto a very sociable evening as a finalist at the Farmers Weekly awards. He currently buys 1500 tonnes of grain a year from local merchants and farmers.

In his youth he was a member of South Midlothian JAC and was National Chairman of SAYFC in 1999-2000. Shortly afterwards he became NFU Scottish Pigs Chairman and sat on the Remunerations committee.   He was the Scottish representative on the British Pig Executive, a part of the MLC, for several years and was Chairman of South of Scotland Pig Producers discussion group.  

In 2017 he took part in the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme. He currently sits on the UK Pig Disease Eradication Fund Board. He is currently Lothian and Borders NFU Chairman and looks forward to the challenge of running for Vice President of NFUS in a period of certain change and challenges in the Scottish agricultural industry.

End

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 173/20


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