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Strong Year for Union, As Discussion on Future Begins

Reporting to the Annual General Meeting of NFU Scotland, its Chief Executive James Withers outlined another strong year for the organisation as discussions commence on the Union’s future direction as it heads towards its centenary in 2013.

Mr Withers paid tribute to the staff of the organisation across the country and the hundreds of members who voluntarily give up time to represent the Union and the industry.  He said that the financial solidity of NFUS, combined with a growing membership base, created an optimistic background against which to consider the future.

A review of the organisation, headed up by President Jim McLaren, is expected to deliver a strategic plan in the coming year that will look to build on NFU Scotland’s role as the nation’s leading representative body for farmers and crofters.

Addressing delegates at the AGM in St Andrews, he said:

“NFUS has had an excellent year, not only in terms of shaping policy - which is always our bread and butter role - but also in growing our membership for a third consecutive year.  That membership growth is a direct reflection of the job we do and we owe a debt of gratitude to those members, from the Presidential team to the branches, as well as staff at head office and around local offices who have worked so hard to achieve it.

“With around three quarters of the nation’s full time farmers already members of NFUS, our voice in influencing government, the supply chain and consumers remains powerful.  We have also worked really hard to improve how we do things, not least in how we communicate with our members and engage them in what we do.  However, there is always room for further improvement.

“The growing support from grassroots farmers and crofters, combined with the critical support of NFU Mutual, puts us on a very solid financial footing and results in us again reporting a modest profit for the last financial year. 

“Every organisation needs to develop and so, in his final year as President, Jim McLaren will head up a strategic review of the organisation to chart a path for the next three to five years.   We see the process as evolution of NFUS, not revolution, and we want to involve staff and members in the discussion on the future opportunities and priorities for the organisation.

“I believe our track record of delivery for members is fantastic, but we have to keep on our toes to ensure we meet our responsibilities to them.  The year ahead once again promises much; not least an intense debate on the future of the support structure and our role in representing the whole industry means we are at the very heart of that debate, both here and crucially in Brussels.”   

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 28/10


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