Three in the running for NFUS top spots

Three candidates will contest the two vice presidential positions at the National Farmers’ Union Scotland AGM in February.

Martin Kennedy, Charlie Adam and Ian Sands all standing for vice president as the top job remains uncontested.

Elections will take place at the NFU Scotland’s council meeting at the Radisson Blu Hotel on Friday, February 8, 2017.

The union’s AGM, conference and annual dinner will be staged at the same venue the day before (Thursday, February 7).

The two vice president positions will be contested by current vice president Martin Kennedy, current Livestock Committee chairman Charlie Adam and current Combinable Crops Committee chairman Ian Sands.

Presidential nomination

As Andrew McCornick is the only candidate standing for president he will be re-appointed for a further two years.

The presidential position is held for two years with any one person permitted to serve a maximum of two consecutive two-year terms.

Dumfries farmer Andrew McCornick is married with three sons and a daughter. He was born and brought up on a dairy farm in Wigtown.

He and his wife Janice run 60 suckler cows and 600 breeding ewes with a small herd of pedigree Charolais cattle on their 230ha unit.

For as long as Andrew can remember, he has been a member of the union and got more involved when the consultation for Nithsdale Nitrate Vulnerable Zone came out.

From there, he went on to become vice chairman of the Dumfries branch, and then onto his previous role of Regional Board Chairman for Dumfries and Galloway.

He also sat on the LFASS committee. Andrew was elected Vice President in February 2015. Andrew has now served almost two years as President, having been elected in February 2017.

Under the terms of the constitution, those elected to the position of vice president initially serve for two years before the post reverts to an annual election.

A series of hustings meeting around the country will take place in January, giving members the opportunity to hear from all candidates on their priorities for the union.

NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker said it was likely to be an exciting election campaign.

With the current climate of political confusion and future uncertainty, it has never been more important for NFU Scotland to have reliable and enthusiastic leadership to best represent the membership.

“All the candidates standing have served the union well over many years and each one would bring many valuable attributes to the position.

“It is important that the members have representatives that reflect their values and who drive forward policies that are in the very best interests of all Scotland’s farmers and crofters.

“These are challenging times for all involved in our industry and I urge all members to take the opportunity to hear from our candidates and their vision for the future as they travel around the country next month,” he said.

Vice presidential candidates

Charlie Adam of Braeside, Leochel-Cushnie, Alford, Aberdeenshire – Charlie is married to Clare with two grown-up children. After being brought up on the family tenanted farm on Deeside, Charlie went out on his own at Braeside in 1982.

Braeside is now owned and runs to 335ac with some seasonal fields also taken. They grow around 130ac of Spring barley for malting and run a 100-cow spring-calving suckler herd put to Charolais bulls.

Charlie was Chairman of Dee and Don Branch for four years, including one as North East Regional Vice Chair. He was then elected North East Regional Chairman, serving for three years. He has represented North East on the Livestock Committee from 2013 and has been Livestock Committee Chairman for the past five years.

Martin Kennedy of Lurgan Farm, Edradynate, Aberfeldy, is a tenant farmer in Highland Perthshire and farms with his wife Jane and three daughters, Jillian, Katrina and Yvonne.

They have 600 ewes and 60 cows on the farm rising from 800ft to over 2,500ft.

Martin served two years as Highland Perthshire branch chairman, before representing East Central region on the LFA committee in 2009. Martin then went on to be vice chairman then chaired the committee for three years. He has served as vice president of NFUS for almost two years.

Ian Sands of Townhead farm, Balbeggie, runs his family farm in Perthshire in partnership with his father and son, and is married to Alexis with a daughter and three stepchildren.

Townhead farm, near Balbeggie, is a 375ac arable farm where they grow combinable crops and let out land to grow peas, potatoes and carrots. Ian, his father and his son also contract farm another 1,600ac.

They used to keep cattle and had a flock of 300 ewes but decided to stop five years ago as their arable farming enterprise grew and they felt they were unable to dedicate enough time to both.

Ian has been involved with NFU Scotland for several years and has been chairman of the Combinable Crops Committee for four years.

Hustings

The dates, times and venues for the forthcoming hustings events are as follows:

  • Monday, January 7 – East Central McDiarmid Park at 7:30pm;
  • Wednesday, January 9 – Forth & Clyde Garfield Hotel, Stepps at 7:30pm;
  • Friday, January 11 – Argyll & Islands Stonefield Castle at 1:30pm;
  • Monday, January 14 – Dumfries & Galloway Ernespie House Hotel, Castle Douglas at 7:30pm;
  • Tuesday, January 15 – Lothian & Borders The Lodge, Carfraemill at 7:30pm;
  • Wednesday, January 16 – Ayrshire Maxwood Hotel at 12:30pm;
  • Thursday, January 17 North East Kintore Arms, Inverurie at 7:00pm;
  • Monday, January 21 – Orkney Ayre Hotel, Kirkwall at 7:30pm;
  • Tuesday, January 22 – Shetland Shetland Hotel, Lerwick at 7:30pm;
  • Wednesday, January 23 – Highland Dingwall Mart at 7:00pm.