Two Northern Ireland sheep farmers have been nominated to replace outgoing British Wool Board chairman Ian Buchanan as the Northern Ireland rep of the national wool marketing body.

It means that members are set to vote on who will be next to take up the role. It’s expected the decision will be announced in February.

12 years on the board

Northern Ireland’s British Wool Board position has become vacant as incumbent board chairman Ian Buchanan reaches the maximum 12-year tenure on the board.

Buchanan, an experienced sheep farmer, had held the position of Northern Ireland Board member since his election in 2006. He runs 900 Blackface and Blackface crosses in a family enterprise.

He is also currently chairman of the Ulster Farmers’ Union’s (UFU’s) Hill Farming Committee and a board member of Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).

Buchanan is the immediate past chairman of both the UFU Rural Development Committee and the NI AgriSearch Sheep Committee – and was elected as the British Wool Board’s chairman in April 2015.


The board has nine non-executive regionally-elected board members. The regional board members are elected on a rotational basis for an initial three-year term with a maximum tenure of four terms of three years.

This year three new members will join the British Wool Board representing English Northern; English Central; and Northern Ireland.

As the only nomination for English Northern Region, Carl Stephenson will join the board after the election.

Two names were put forward for Northern Ireland:

Robert Carmichael from Dungiven and Brendan Kelly from Randalstown, Co. Antrim.

Carmichael is currently the Co. Derry committee member, while Kelly is a former chairman of the British Isle Shearing Competition Association (BISCA).

Voting papers will be sent to all registered producers in the above regions on Thursday January 18, 2018, and they must be returned to the independent returning officer by 6:00pm on Thursday February 8, 2018.

The term of office for each board member is three years, commencing April 1, 2018.

Two names were also put forward for English Central region: Richard Cottrill and Rebecca Spooner, both from Derbyshire.