Two farmers battle for role of NFU Scotland president

The candidates for the offices of NFU Scotland president and vice-president have been announced. 

John Kinnaird, current president, will stand down after four years at the NFUS Council Meeting in February 2007.

The two current vice-presidents, Bob Howat and Jim McLaren, will both be standing for the office of president. The president is elected for a two-year term.

Two positions of vice-president are also open for election.  If not elected for the role of president, Jim McLaren will then stand for one of the vice-president positions.  

The other candidates in the running for the vice-president positions are Adam Fisken, Nigel Miller and Stewart Wood.  Both vice-presidents are elected for a one-year term.

The biographical details of the candidates are as follows:

Bob Howat: Aged 46 and married with four daughters, Bob Howat owns a farm in the Borders and runs a tenanted unit in Fife in partnership with his wife. The hill farm in the Borders and the mixed unit in Fife have a total of 1400 breeding ewes and 50 suckler cows, with all progeny finished on farm. A former Chairman of NFU Scotland’s Selkirk Branch and a member of the Borders Area Committee, Bob was also Chairman of the Less Favoured Areas Committee. Bob has been NFUS Vice President since February 2003.

Jim McLaren: Age 39 and married with two sons, two daughters and two stepdaughters, Jim is a mixed arable and dairy farmer, with 130 Holstein Friesian cows. All young stock are kept for replacements or finished on farm. His arable unit, growing winter wheat, winter oilseed rape, spring barley and land let out for potatoes, extends to 1000 acres in Perthshire. The business is a mix of full tenancy, limited partnership, owner-occupier and contract farming. Jim has served on the Milk Committee since 1999, holding the position of Chairman in 2003. He was also Chairman of Crieff Branch. He has been Vice- President since March 2006 .

Adam Fisken: Married with a son and a daughter, Adam farms 440 hectares in the Kilpatrick Hills, north of the River Clyde in East Dumbartonshire. The core business is sheep production, although the business has diversified into other enterprises. The business used to have suckler cows but a decision was made to substitute them with grazers. Adam is currently in his second year as regional chairman for Forth & Clyde and has served on the legal and technical committee for one year longer. He is also in his last year as chairman of Balfron and Menteith branch.

Nigel Miller: Married with four children, Nigel farms 1200 acres in the Borders. The upland hill farm supports 150 cows and 800 breeding ewes. Traditional beef breeds are the basis of the beef enterprise. Aberdeen Angus cross steers are sold through the auction ring with heifers being marketed privately for bulling. The sheep flock is founded on Lairg type Cheviots. Nigel, a former vet, started his NFU Scotland career as Chairman of the West Berwick Branch and is currently Chairman of the Livestock Committee.    

Stewart Wood: Married with two sons, Stewart runs Garson Farms, as a family partnership. Stewart is the current chairman of the Orkney and Shetland region of the NFUS. Stewart’s unit extends to 209 hectares. The farm is predominantly in grassland, with around 40 hectares of spring barley grown each year. All of the grain and straw are used on farm. Stocking comprises a herd of 170 suckler cows (including a small pedigree Charolais herd).  All progeny are finished on farm.  A sheep flock of 200 ewes is also carried on the farm, with a further 150-200 store lambs bought annually.

Elections will take place at the NFU Scotland Council Meeting on 23 February 2007 at Dunblane Hydro Hotel.

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