In his address at the Union’s AGM in St Andrews, NFU Scotland’s Chief Executive Scott Walker has highlighted the widening range of issues addressed by the Union in the course of the last year.
In addressing council, Mr Walker recognised that responsibility for some of the major issues affecting Scottish agriculture in 2014 would now pass to the new presidential team to be elected tomorrow (Tuesday, 10 February).
While looking ahead, Mr Walker also praised the outgoing President Nigel Miller for the outstanding work that he has done for individual members and Scottish agriculture during his four-year term as President.
Speaking at the Union’s AGM in St Andrews, Mr Walker said,
“Representing members across all of Scotland and in every sector means that the range of issues we have dealt with in the last year has been wider and more varied than ever before.
“It has included supporting our chicken producers through a massive restructuring of the sector, to shaping the proposed changes in agricultural holdings legislation. Our ability to facilitate meetings on the referendum gave our members access to both sides of the debate and we have continued to get round every part of the country to discuss the landmark changes to CAP support.
“The challenges we are faced with each year may be different but the one thing that is consistent is this organisation’s proven ability to lobby on behalf of its members.
“Our main role, first and foremost, is to ensure that the views of farmers and crofters are heard, listened to and that decisions made take into account the needs of our members. Whether that be in the political corridors of Europe, Westminster and Holyrood or in the commercial companies that either supply services to farm businesses or that buy the produce that comes from our farms.
“The recent 24 percent reduction in the area of farmland in Scotland affected by Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) restrictions shows how some subjects require persistency over many years but that that persistency does eventually pay dividends.
“We recognise that things remain tight for our members and over the last 18 months we have revamped our member discount offering, giving them greater value for their membership. The Landrover and Volvo deals have been particularly attractive and our new electricity deal with EON offers contract flexibility.
“Our aspiration is to develop the range of discounts that we offer so that every member has the potential to get back the value of their subscription in the discounts that are available.
“By lunchtime tomorrow (10 February), we will see a new Presidential team elected. For Nigel, his term of office has now come to an end but he will always be remembered as a President that was willing to go to all corners of Scotland to discuss issues and meet members.
“For Nigel, resolving an issue for one member was just as important to him and as dealing with something that affected the whole of Scottish agriculture. We thank him on all levels for all he has done.”