Union un­veils new award in mem­ory of farm­ing stal­warts

The Oban Times - - Farming -

TWO WELL-known Ar­gyll farm­ing char­ac­ters will be re­mem­bered to­day as the lo­cal NFU Scot­land branch launches a new award.

As mem­bers from across Ar­gyll and the Is­lands meet in Tar­bert on Fri­day Jan­uary 15 for their re­gional board AGM, they will recog­nise the con­tri­bu­tion of Mull farm­ers Bert Leitch and Lach­lan Ma­cLean, both of whom sadly passed away last year.

Both were loyal and com­mit­ted sup­port­ers of NFU Scot­land, con­tribut­ing hugely to the union’s work lo­cally and na­tion­ally over many years and they are both sorely missed fol­low­ing their sud­den deaths in 2015.

Re­gional man­ager, Lucy Sum­sion, said: ‘ In recog­ni­tion and in mem­ory of Bert and Lach­lan, the re­gional board would like to launch an an­nual award to be pre­sented each year to ei­ther a NFUS mem­ber who has fol­lowed in their foot­steps and given their time and ef­fort to the work of the union in Ar­gyll and the Is­lands re­gion, or some­one who has made a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to agri­cul­ture in the area.

‘ The ‘Stal­wart Award’ will be launched at this year’s re­gional AGM, with nom­i­na­tions be­ing sought later in the year and the award pre­sented to the first win­ner in 2016.’

The meet­ing will also see the ap­point­ment of a new chair for the re­gion, as John Sem­ple from Mid Ar­gyll steps down af­ter five years of hard work on be­half mem­bers in Ar­gyll and the Is­lands.

An open dis­cus­sion ses­sion in the af­ter­noon which will fo­cus on a cou­ple of key pol­icy is­sues.

The first will be the Scot­tish Govern­ment land re­form bill, which is now go­ing through par­lia­ment and will be­come law by the end of March 2016. NFU Scot­land has con­sulted widely with its mem­bers on this sub­ject, but with govern­ment amend­ments to the bill ex­pected, mem­bers will be up­dated on the cur­rent po­si­tion and their views sought.

The se­cond is­sue will be train­ing and skills in agri­cul­ture and how this can best be pro­vided in the Ar­gyll and the Is­lands re­gion, whether by en­cour­ag­ing young peo­ple to take up agri­cul­ture through the pro­vi­sion of mod­ern ap­pren­tice­ships, or train­ing that ex­ist­ing farm­ers and crofters need. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from in­dus­try train­ing body, Lantra, and the Scot­tish As­so­ci­a­tion of Young Farm­ers Clubs will be at the meet­ing and will be keen to dis­cuss with mem­bers the work that they have been do­ing in Ar­gyll.

NFU Scot­land pres­i­dent, Al­lan Bowie, and chief ex­ec­u­tive, Scott Walker, will be there to up­date mem­bers on any other pol­icy is­sues or the cam­paign­ing and lob­by­ing work of the union.


Bert Leitch.


Lach­lan Ma­cLean.

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