The Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) has announced that, following an open competition, Colin Smith has been appointed as chief executive.

Smith previously headed up the commission’s ‘Industry Development’ team and was appointed to the role of CEO.

Prior to this appointment, he acted as interim chief executive for over four months, following the departure of his predecessor, Ian Stevenson.

New LMC chief executive

Colin Smith has a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Smith began his career as a senior policy officer for the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) before moving to LMC in 2012.

As a member of LMC’s senior management team, over the last 12 years he has managed a range of portfolios within LMC, including the education programme, marketing activities, Farm Quality Assurance Scheme and the broader industry development remit.

Commenting on the appointment, LMC chair, Joe Stewart said: “The commission launched a rigorous recruitment process at the end of 2023, and we are pleased to announce that this culminated with the appointment of Colin Smith to the position of chief executive.

“For over a decade Colin has worked at the heart of the commission’s business activities.

“With vast experience of working within the agriculture industry, and an in-depth understanding of the commission’s portfolio of work, Colin’s expertise will be invaluable in leading the commission in the delivery of its wide-ranging business activities,” he added.

Colin Smith added: “I am delighted to have been appointed as chief executive and look forward to building further upon the positive reputation LMC has as a trusted organisation working on behalf of the beef and sheep industry and supply chain partners in Northern Ireland.

“This is a pivotal time for LMC as we work with stakeholders to develop a new strategic plan which will set wheels in motion for business activities over the next three years.

“It is a decisive time for agriculture too, we are entering a new legislative landscape for both climate change and future agricultural policy in Northern Ireland.

“There are over 18,000 beef and sheep farmers at the heart of the agricultural sector that must have a sustainable income to deliver the high-quality local produce enjoyed by millions of consumers globally.”

Smith said that the LMC will continue to ensure that world leading produce from Northern Ireland continues to gain the recognition it deserves and market access required.

“I believe there are very real opportunities to work collaboratively with industry stakeholders to create a sustainable and profitable future for our sector and in doing so continue to strongly champion Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured beef and lamb at every opportunity,” he continued.