Farmers’ co-operative ANM Group has pledged to help its members with the challenges posed by Common Agricultural Policy reform over the next few years.
Chief of the Inverurie-based group, Pat Machray, told members at the co-operative’s annual meeting this week that ANM would do all that it can to help members during this “period of flux”.
“This has been a year of uncertainty with Cap reform uppermost in all farmers’ minds,” said Mr Machray. “Change is inevitable, but it is the dramatic nature of some of the changes to individual farm businesses we have to be concerned about especially when it affects livestock from our group point of view.”
General manager of the livestock division, John Gregor, said Cap reform posed a real challenge to livestock numbers, which are already in decline.
He said although throughput at the group had increased in the past year – 2,157 more cattle and 20,967 more sheep were sold last year – there was a concern a reduction in subsidy support would lead to further decline in national numbers.
“The number of breeding cows in Scotland is now at an all-time low and breeding sheep numbers have also dropped,” said Mr Gregor. “It will continue to challenge our throughput, but tight supplies should leave producers with good prospects for the marketplace.”
He said any reduction in support was likely to hit intensive livestock producers the most.
“The disproportionate cut in money coming into the north-east is also a bitter pill to swallow. We intend to keep a close eye on this issue and assist members where we can during this period of change,” said Mr Gregor. “This includes our stock on agreement scheme and during the year, we have increased our facilities for livestock finance. We have developed options for breeding stock expansion, as well as favourable rates for new entrants all to assist our members.”
Both Mr Gregor and head of the group’s estates division, Grant Rogerson, were voted on to the board as executive directors at the annual meeting. Mr Machray said: “Appointing these operationally focused individuals to the board will allow me in particular to focus on the longer-term strategic planning and direction of the group.”
Other board changes sanctioned at the annual meeting include the re-election of Jim Cruickshank, of Westerton of Folla, Inverurie, and election of Mike Macaulay, of Clinterty Grange, Kinellar. Vice-chairman David Brown retired from the board.