The contest for the leadership of NFU Scotland has opened with a series of hustings scheduled at 10 venues across the country over the next two weeks.

The election for a new president and two vice-presidents will take place at the NFUS council meeting in St Andrews on Tuesday 10 February.

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Standing for president are current vice-presidents Allan Bowie and Rob Livesey and the union’s combinable crops committee chairman Andrew Moir.

Mr Livesey and Mr Moir are also standing for the two vice-president posts, for which they will be challenged by Dumfries and Galloway regional chairman Andrew McCornick, Lothian and Borders regional vice-chairman Kelvin Pate and legal and technical committee chairman John Smith.

Current president Nigel Miller has served four years, the maximum period allowed under the constitution.

Vice-presidents are elected on an annual basis but a change is being proposed to alter the first vice-presidential terms to two years. If agreed at the meeting on 9 February the rules will apply to the elections the following day.

NFUS chief executive Scott Walker said all candidates would criss-cross the country to attend regional annual meetings and give members the opportunity to put questions to them directly to find out what they think about key Scottish agricultural issues.

“It will give them the opportunity to speak to members and to show why they should lead NFU Scotland,” he said.

“Each of the candidates has much to offer and I know they all welcome the opportunity to get across the country and talk to members.

“While enjoyable, the hustings will be a gruelling process and will culminate in one successful candidate being elected president and two successful candidates being elected vice-president.”