Politicians to Take Centre Stage at Union AGM

Scottish and UK Ministers plus MSPs to address NFUS members

A Defra Minister will address the NFU Scotland Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the first time since devolution, when Agriculture Minister Jim Paice speaks to members at St Andrews during the afternoon of Monday, 14 February.

With elections to the Scottish Parliament taking place on Thursday, 5 May, the strong political flavour to the AGM will start with a Question Time session involving MSPs from Scotland’s four main political parties.  This will be the first major political hustings in Scotland to tackle rural issues ahead of the May election and will also take place on the Monday afternoon.

The political theme at the two-day AGM then continues on Tuesday, 15 February, when Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead makes his traditional AGM address.

Speaking ahead of the event, NFU Scotland President Jim McLaren said:

“I am absolutely delighted that in my final year as President, NFU Scotland’s AGM is providing our members with a high profile platform to challenge our politicians, whether from Westminster or Holyrood, on the issues that are important to their businesses. 

“Political events this year have the potential to significantly influence Scottish agriculture for several years to come.  The debate on the future shape of support to farming, as delivered by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) beyond 2013, is about to move into the European arena in earnest.  Defra will be lead negotiator for the UK in Europe and this is a great opportunity for our members to discuss with the Agriculture Minister the future of farm support.

“Given the importance of food and farming to Scotland, many voters will have rural issues high on their personal agendas as we approach the Holyrood elections in May.  With party manifestos still to be published, this is a chance for all four major parties in Scotland to debate in public the things that matter to Scotland’s farmers, crofters and rural communities ahead of a vote that will set the next Scottish Government.

“To conclude the political picture, our own Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead will address members on the Tuesday morning (15 February) outlining the work the Scottish Government is doing on behalf of Scotland’s food and farming sectors.

“The fact that such a high level political debate is taking place at the AGM will provide a fitting backdrop to our own internal elections as we set about deciding who will lead NFU Scotland next year and beyond.  As my four years in the chair come to an end, I wish all Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates well and look forward to the voting, the annual dinner and the political debate ensuring I finish my term on a real high.”

Notes to editors

  • NFU Scotland’s Annual Dinner and AGM will take place at Fairmont Hotel, St Andrews on Monday 14 February and Tuesday 15 February 2011.
  • On Monday, 14 February, the Holyrood Question Time, featuring MSPs from the four main political parties in Scotland is scheduled to start at 2.15pm and finish at 3.30pm.
  • On Monday, 14 February, Agriculture Minister Jim Paice is scheduled to speak from 3.45pm until 4.45pm
  • On Tuesday, 15 February, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead is scheduled to speak from 10.15am until 11.15am.
  • Elections for the position of NFUS President and Vice-President will take place at the Union’s Council meeting at 9.00am on Tuesday 15 February.  The position of President is being contested by Allan Bowie and Nigel Miller.  The two positions of Vice-President are being contested by Allan Bowie, Alan Crichton, John Picken and Ian Wilson. 


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006


Date Published:

News Article No.: 14/11

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