Top Level Line-Up for NFU Scotland AGM

Election for Union top spots highlight of Day Two

A top notch list of leading politicians, civil servants and industry spokesmen have been lined up for NFU Scotland’s annual AGM and dinner, taking place in St Andrews on Monday 9 February and Tuesday 10 February.

However, for Union members across the country, all eyes will be on Tuesday morning when NFUS will elect its new President and Vice Presidents.

The first morning will see President Nigel Miller, who is stepping down after serving for four years, give his final address to council.

In light of last week’s publication of the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group’s Report – and Scottish Government’s current consultation on Land Reform - the early afternoon session on the Monday will be timely.  It will feature Scottish Government’s leading civil servant Stephen Pathirana and agricultural lawyer, Hamish Lean – a member of the AHLRG.

Scotland’s newly-appointed Chief Agricultural Officer, David Barnes will then cover the implementation and transition to new CAP arrangements, in particular the Basic Payment Scheme.

The Monday afternoon concludes with Scottish Secretary of State Alistair Carmichael MP and Defra Minister responsible for farming and food, George Eustice MP.

On Tuesday, business opens with the election of NFUS officeholders.  Standing for President are Allan Bowie, Rob Livesey and Andrew Moir.  Mr Livesey and Mr Moir are also standing for the two Vice Presidential posts where they will be challenged by Andrew McCornick, Kelvin Pate and John Smith.

The Tuesday programme concludes with the annual address to NFU Scotland’s council from Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead.

Before standing down next week, NFU Scotland President, Nigel Miller, said:

“If 2014 was a year of intense debate, then 2015 will be a year about delivery.

“We will see a new CAP bed in; the vision for land reform and change within our tenanted sector will be taken forward and the outcome of the independence referendum and Smith Commission will see a Scotland Bill progress.

“These remain huge policy issues for NFU Scotland but thanks to the way our officeholders, staff and secretaries have gone out and engaged with the members at every level, NFU Scotland’s influence and reputation as a lobby organisation can be seen in the policies that have emerged in every one of these areas.

“The 2015 AGM will provide a platform to drill down on these. We will further expand on the emerging policies for land reform and agricultural tenancies. We will look at how new CAP schemes will be rolled out across Scotland and what that means for established businesses and those who are new or developing their enterprises. And with leading politicians from Westminster and Holyrood all contributing to the programme, we will hear their vision for Scotland and its post-referendum future.

“But it is also a time of change for NFU Scotland and a new officeholder team will be elected to take up role of representing our members at the highest level. An election – particularly one where so many hats are in the ring – always adds an extra level of frisson to our two days at St Andrews.

“The quality and calibre of the candidates ensures that, whatever way the council votes, the Union will be in sound hands.

“And in stepping down, can I say a sincere thank you to all those that I have met in my time at the Union’s top table – it has been an enormous privilege to be part of it all and to share the highs, lows and good times generated by our fantastic industry.” 

Notes to Editors

Monday 9 February 2015

11.00 – 12.15    AGM - Auditors’ Report, CEO Report by Scott Walker, Presidential Report from Nigel Miller, Special Resolutions relating to NFUS Constitution.  

12.30 – 13.30    Lunch

13.30 – 14.30    Land Reform & Agricultural Holdings
Dr Stephen Pathirana - As a civil servant, Stephen has worked on European single market issues in what was the UK Department of Trade and Industry and at the Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry in the European Commission.  He moved to Scottish Government around five years ago. He has since developed Scotland’s Zero Waste policy, worked on constitutional reform, and has taken forward agricultural holdings review and land reform.

Hamish Lean - An agricultural lawyer since 2000, is a frequent practitioner in the Scottish Land Court and writes and speaks regularly on agricultural law topics. He has a particular interest in agricultural tenancies and is a member of the Agricultural Law Association and the Scottish Agricultural Arbiters and Valuers’ Association.  He was a member of the Agricultural Holdings Legislation Review Group and sits on NFUS’s Legal and Technical Committee.

14.30 – 15.05    Transition - the move from Single Farm Payments to new basic payments
David Barnes - has been Chief Agricultural Officer in the Scottish Government since January 2015, having previously been its Head of Agriculture Policy.  He joined the Scottish Government in September 2008, after working as Agriculture Counsellor at the UK Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels and Agriculture Attaché at the British Embassy in Paris.  Previously he worked in agriculture-related posts in the UK government.

15.05 – 15.30    Tea/coffee interval and an opportunity to interview previous speakers.

15.30 – 16.30    Question Session with George Eustice MP and Alistair Carmichael MP
George Eustice - MP for the Cornwall constituency of Camborne and Redruth since 2010. Coming from a farming background, Mr Eustice was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Farming, Food and Marine Environment in 2013.

Alistair Carmichael - Secretary of State for Scotland, a role he has held since October 2013. Mr Carmichael has been the Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland since 2005.

18:00 – 23:00    Annual drinks reception and dinner with food supplied by Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway, East Central and Highland regions of NFU Scotland

Tuesday 10 February 2015

09:00 – 10:00    National Council Meeting

Election of NFUS President

Election of NFUS Vice Presidents

10:00 – 10:30    Tea/coffee interval

10:30 – 11.30    Ministerial Address by Richard Lochhead MSP
Richard Lochhead – The Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs has been in post since May 2007. He joined the Scottish National Party while still at school in the 1980s.  He was elected to the Scottish Parliament for the first time in 1999 as a North East MSP, and stood down to contest and win the Moray constituency by-election in 2006.

Members of the media who would like to attend can contact  Timings may be subject to change but a member of the communications team will be available to help with any enquiry.  Please contact Bob Carruth on 07788 927675 or Ruth McClean on 07920 018619.


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 20/15

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