The National Farmers’ Union of Scotland (NFUS) has appointed John Flanagan to head its food and farming team and lead on arable issues.

Flanagan, who comes from Co. Tipperary, Ireland, will be responsible for cereals, potatoes, pesticides and organic farming.

He has previously worked for NFUS as a regional manager and, for the past 11 years, has worked with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

On his appointment, Flanagan said: “I’ve come back to NFUS at a time of significant change. There’s still so much detail to be ironed with the proposed Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill, the shape of future agricultural policy in Scotland and how Scottish farming will operate within the influence of Westminster and further afield in the future.

“Climate change mitigation, loss of  biodiversity, and food security remain key issues for Scottish agriculture, and these can only be tackled by a profitable and dynamic and forward looking industry.

“These are significant challenges going forward, and I am looking forward to working with the membership to deal with  the current issues on the table, but also to be proactive, innovative and generally build an air of positivity around the great work Scottish farmers and crofters do in producing first class produce.”

“There’s lots of be getting on with but I’m up for the challenge and have already been so impressed by the NFUS team and it’s dedicated members.”

John Flanagan

When he first left NFUS, Flanagan was a self-employed farmer an ran a mixed unit of cattle, sheep and arable in the Limousin region of France.

John Flanagan. Image: NFUS

At SRUC, Flanagan started as a lecturer in Ayr, followed by a stint with SAC Consulting in Dumfries, and finally as senior lecturer in agriculture at the Barony campus.

Commenting on Flanagan’s appointment, NFUS’ head of policy Gemma Cooper added: “We are excited to add John to our talented team of policy staff at NFUS.

“John brings with him significant technical and practical experience which will be a huge asset for members and colleagues. 

“He will lead on issues impacting our arable and potato members and play a senior role in our food and farming team. With pressing issues such as digital grain passports and glyphosate, John is already getting his teeth stuck into his new role.”