A vacancy has opened up for an ambitious farm politician to sit at NFU Scotland’s top table.
Vice-president Gary Mitchell has announced he will not be standing for re-election when his two-year term ends in February, while the other two senior office-bearers – union president Andrew McCornick and vice-president Martin Kennedy from Highland Perthshire – have indicated they will be standing again.
Representatives from all 73 of the union’s branches will select the three positions at NFU Scotland’s (NFUS) annual council meeting and dinner which takes place in Glasgow in February.
Mr Mitchell is withdrawing from full-time union work to focus on his dairy farm near Stranraer, but intends to remain involved in farm politics to some degree.
He said: “I have a young staff at home and union work means I’m just not there enough so I have to do what’s right for my business. However the dairy industry and education and skills are my passion so I hope to be able to continue working with these subjects at some level.”
Any NFUS member can be nominated for election, providing they are proposed and seconded by fellow union members.
The presidential position is held for two years and a president can serve a maximum of two consecutive two-year terms. Under the terms of the constitution, those elected to the position of vice-president will initially serve for two years before the post reverts to an annual election.
Anyone wishing to stand as president or vice-president should contact the union’s chief executive Scott Walker to obtain a proposal form, which must then be signed and returned to him by close of play on December 12.
Mr Walker said: “In the run-up to our annual general meeting in February 2019, we will be holding a number of hustings across all of our regions early in the New Year.
“This will give all candidates the opportunity to speak to as many of our members as possible as we approach the elections.”
Mr Walker said potential candidates would be offered support where possible.
He added: “Making our wide network of branches and offices aware of all candidates will maximise the opportunities available to them to speak to the membership first hand.”