Six names in the hat for top Union positions

Six candidates will contest the top roles within NFU Scotland at the Union’s forthcoming AGM and annual dinner in Glasgow early next year.
Elections for the positions of President and its two Vice Presidential posts will take place at the Union’s council meeting at the Radisson Blu Hotel on Tuesday 7 February 2017.  The Union’s AGM, conference and annual dinner will be staged at the same venue the day before (Monday 6 February). 
Current President Allan Bowie and sitting Vice Presidents Rob Livesey and Andrew McCornick will all contest the presidential position.
The two vice presidential roles will be decided between Forth and Clyde Regional Chairman Tom French, Less Favoured Areas Committee Chairman Martin Kennedy and Dumfries and Galloway Regional Chairman Gary Mitchell.
The presidential position is held for two years and a President can serve a maximum of two consecutive two-year terms.  Under the terms of the constitution, those elected to the position of Vice President will initially serve for two years before the post reverts to an annual election. 
A series of hustings meeting around the country will take place in January, giving members the opportunity to hear from all candidates on their priorities for the Union.
Commenting on the prospect of an exciting election campaign, NFU Scotland Chief Executive Scott Walker said: “It is hugely encouraging for the future of NFU Scotland and indication of the strength of the organisation that such a strong line up of candidates want to be involved in the Union at the highest level. 
“With Brexit decisions looming and future agricultural policy in the UK and Scotland up for debate, we need the right people in place to drive forward policies that are in the very best interests of our farmers and crofters.
“These are exciting times for all involved in our industry and I urge all members to take the opportunity to hear from our candidates as they travel round the country next month. 
“The decision the membership must make is who should lead this union for the next 24 months as we negotiate some of the most challenging times faced by the Union in its 104-year history.”  Ends
Notes for Editors
The election for President and the two vice presidential positions will take place at the Union’s Council meeting at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow on Tuesday 7 February 2017.  The Union’s AGM, conference and annual dinner will be staged at the same venue the day before (Monday 6 February). Members of NFU Scotland’s Council – a body made up of representatives from each of the Union’s 73 branches - will select the successful candidates.
In the election for President, if any of the three candidates obtains more than 50 per cent of the votes in the first vote, then they shall be declared President.  As Allan Bowie is currently President and standing for re-election, if he does not gain more than 50 per cent of the votes in the first vote then he withdraws from the election and there will then be a further voting round between Andrew McCornick and Rob Livesey.
In the election for Vice Presidents, as there are three people standing, there will be one round of voting with the two candidates receiving the largest number of votes being declared Vice Presidents.
A photograph of the current officeholder team at NFU Scotland including Allan Bowie, Rob Livesey and Andrew McCornich – all three of whom are running for the presidency in January – is available from
Presidential Candidates (in alphabetical order)
Allan Bowie, The Haining, Strathkinness High Road, St Andrews - Allan is married with two sons and a daughter. He farms in Clackmannanshire with Christine and son Callum, majoring on growing cereals. The area farmed extends to about 1000 acres on contract farming agreements. He was chairman of the North-East Fife branch and served two years as chairman for East Central region. Allan was first elected Vice President in February 2009 and elected President in 2015.
Rob Livesey, Firth, Catshawhill, Melrose - Rob is married with two sons. He farms Firth Farm near Lilliesleaf in the Scottish Borders with 1,100 mules ewes, 80 Salers cows and 125 acres of cereals. The Firth is a tenanted farm of 600 acres and a further 200 acres is rented nearby. Rob has been a Vice President for almost four years, and was Livestock Committee Chairman for four years before that. He is also a past President of the Selkirk branch. Prior to taking the tenancy of the Firth, Rob managed a large estate in south Ayrshire for seven years after leaving the family farm at Bonchester Bridge. Rob was first elected Vice President in February 2013.
Andrew McCornick, Barnbackle, Lochfoot, Dumfries - Andrew, who is married with three sons and a daughter, was born and brought up on a dairy farm in Wigtown. Andrew and wife Janice farm their 230+ ha unit with 160 suckler cows and 600 breeding ewes with a small herd of pedigree Charolais cattle. For as long as Andrew can remember, he has been a member of the Union, and got more involved when the consultation for Nithsdale NVZ came out. From there he went onto become vice chairman of the Dumfries branch, and then onto his previous role of Regional Board Chairman for Dumfries and Galloway. He also sat on the LFASS committee.  Andrew was elected Vice President in February 2015.
Vice Presidential Candidates (in alphabetical order)
Tom French, Nether Balgray, Crawfordjohn, Biggar – Tom, aged 50, is married to Anne with two daughters.  He farms 200 acres of upland grass/arable rented from Douglas and Angus estates. The farm business produces suckled calves, sold as stores at 11 to 15-month-old. The farm has grown 20  to 30 acres of spring barley for home feed/bedding but this is currently being reviewed with a view to establish in sheep enterprise. Tom is a past Chairman of Lanark and District Young Farmers, and served two years as Chairman of Clydesdale Branch of NFUS. After two years, as Forth and Clyde Regional Vice Chairman, Tom was elected Regional Chairman in January 2012. Tom is Vice President of Lanark Agricultural Discussion Society. 
Martin Kennedy, Lurgan Farm, Edradynate, Aberfeldy - Martin is married with three daughters and farms with his wife Jane in Highland Perthshire on a hill farm rising to 2,500ft. They have 600 breeding ewes, 30 continental cows and 30 Highlanders. Martin served two years as Highland Perthshire branch President, he first represented East Central region on the LFA committee in 2009 before being elected as Vice Chairman for three years.  He is currently serving his second year as Chairman. He has also been chairman of Aberfeldy Show and Highland Games for the past six years.
Gary Mitchell, West Galdenoch, Stranraer - Gary operated an arable and beef enterprise until September 2007 when he switched to dairying, starting with 130 cows while converting the farm.  He now currently milks 800, with all female young-stock over three months old reared off farm under contract.  He farms 750 acres of which 450 acres are owned and 300 acres rented (half on a five-year tenancy).  Around 150 acres are zero grazed; 375 acres are gown for silage and 225 acres are in winter wheat.  Gary was Milk Committee Chairman from 2012 to 2014 and he has been Regional Chairman for Dumfries and Galloway since February 2014.
The dates, times and venues for the forthcoming hustings events are as follows:
  • Tuesday 10 January - Forth and Clyde Region - Garfield House Hotel, Stepps, 7.30pm
  • Wednesday 11 January - Highland Region - Dingwall Auction Mart, 7pm
  • Thursday 12 January - East Central Region - Huntingtower Hotel, Perth, 7.30pm
  • Friday 13 January - Argyll and Islands Region - Stonefield Castle, Tarbert, 11am
  • Monday 16 January - Ayrshire Region - Dumfries House Home Farm, Cumnock, 11am
  • Monday 16 January - Dumfries and Galloway Region - Douglas Arms, Castle Douglas, 7.30pm
  • Tuesday 17 January - Lothian and Borders Region - The Lodge, Carfraemill, 7.30pm
  • Wednesday 18 January - North East Region - Porterhouse, Thainstone Centre, 7pm
  • Thursday 19 January - Orkney Region - Ayre Hotel, Kirkwall, 7.30pm 
  • Friday 20 January - Shetland Region -Shetland Hotel, Lerwick, 7.30pm 
If media would like to attend any of the above events, please email: 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 267/16

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