Union unveils new award in memory of farming stalwarts
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.