12 March 1999

Walker wants

unity

The Scottish NFUbade farewell to George Lyon at its

annual meeting in Dunblane last week and welcomed new

president Jim Walker. Allan Wright reports from the agm

THE new president of the Scottish NFU is 38-year-old Jim Walker from Sanquhar in Dumfriesshire. Vice-president for the past year, Mr Walker was elected at the annual meeting on Dunblane last Friday.

He succeeds George Lyon who is standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate in the forthcoming elections to the Scottish Parliament.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Walker promised to spare no effort in securing a fair settlement for Scotland in the current negotiations to reform the EU common agricultural policy.

He also urged all sides of the industry to stick together. "Just because I dont grow barley or milk cows does not mean we cannot go forward as a united industry," said Mr Walker who runs 470 suckler cows and 1900 breeding ewes.

His two vice-presidents will ensure a commodity balance on the top table. Peter Chapman farms arable crops, beef cattle, and intensive pigs and poultry at Strichen in Aberdeenshire. He also had a dairy herd until last autumn.

Mr Chapman, who had already served a year as vice-president and challenged for the top job, indicated that he would serve for only one more year.

The newcomer to the unions executive is 48-year-old Peter Stewart from Dunfermline, Fife. His farming interests are cereals and potatoes and he is a long-time member of the union cereals committee.

Mr Walker said the spread of interests showed there was no livestock domination within the union. "There should be no more talk of an east/west divide and I accept that we need to attract more members from the east coast," he said.

The union also announced four new staff appointments as part of its restructuring. Hugh Lightbody, currently project manager of Rural Stirling Partnership, becomes regional policy manager. His team of three regional policy advisers will comprise Scott Walker (union economist), Bobby Carruth (agricultural journalist), and Beverley Wilson (a regional policy adviser with the NFU).