Borders farmer Kate Rowell has been appointed by Scottish ministers as the new chairman of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

Mrs. Rowell, who has been a member of the QMS board since April 2015, will take over the role on October 1 when current chairman Jim McLaren steps down after almost eight years at the helm.

Rowell is a fifth-generation farmer running the 750ha Hundleshope farm on the Haystoun Estate, where the family have been tenants for 150 years.

She runs the hill unit near Peebles with her husband Ed and their four children.

A qualified vet, Mrs. Rowell worked in a mixed practice in the north of England for eight years before she returned home to take over the reins of the family business.

The Rowells run 75 suckler cows and around 800 sheep on the farm which was previously a monitor farm, part of the successful QMS programme.

Track record

Mrs. Rowell is an honorary president of Peebles Agricultural Society and took part in the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme in 2015-16, attending the 2018 Oxford Farming Conference as an Emerging Leader.

She is also actively involved in supporting the work of the Royal Highland Education Trust which aims to encourage children to have a better understanding of farming and where their food comes from.

Mrs. Rowell said she was delighted and very much looking forward to taking up the role of chair at the start of next month. During the coming weeks, she will be spending time working closely with current chairman Jim McLaren to ensure a smooth handover and transition.

“I feel privileged to have this opportunity to play such a pivotal role in the Scottish red meat industry. I am very much looking forward to getting out and about in the coming weeks and months to hear more from people working in all parts of the red meat industry,” said Mrs. Rowell.

Jim McLaren, current chair of QMS, said he was looking forward to working closely with Mrs. Rowell over the coming weeks, before stepping down on October 1.

“Kate brings a wealth of experience to the role of chair, both as a farmer and a vet. Her passion for farming is shared by her enthusiasm for the wider industry and inspiring and educating people about farming and where their food comes from.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure in the role of QMS chair which has given me an opportunity to see first-hand the superb range of activities delivered by what is a very small team of staff at QMS.

“I have also been fortunate to have been supported by very strong board members during my period in post and I look forward to continuing to support the valuable work of QMS as a levy-payer after I step down.”