NFU Scotland’s Lothian and Borders region has a new chairman with Gifford farmer Kelvin Pate taking on the role.
Selkirk branch member Sion Williams, Eckford Farming, Bowhill, remains regional vice-chairman with well-known pig producer Robin Traquair, Wellington, Millerhill, filling the other vice-chairman’s role vacated by Kelvin.
Kelvin, who farms at Aikeyside near Gifford with his wife Wendy and three sons, has been an office-holder in the Union for more than a decade now, including a spell as chairman of his local East Lothian branch.
He has previously represented the region on the Livestock and Legal and Technical committees, and chaired the Livestock committee between 2007 and 2009.
Aikeyside is a 360-acre unit, part of which is classified Less Favoured Area, and is run along with 200 acres of grass rented on an annual basis. He has 800 ewes and 45 suckler cows producing Angus and Charolais calves.
The farm grows 800 bales of hay/silage and 40 acres of spring barley all of which is under sown with a catch crop of Italian rye grass.
Speaking after his appointment, Kelvin said: “With Brexit looming, Scottish and UK agriculture is facing its biggest challenge since joining the EEC in 1973.
“There are a lot of uncertainties and I am looking forward to being part of what NFU Scotland does best - informing the decision-makers and fighting the corner of all farming sectors to get the best possible result for Scottish agriculture going forward.
“Securing the right trade deal is vital. We cannot farm if we have nowhere to sell our produce and that loss of production would have far reaching ramifications, not just for the economy but the countryside as well. Active farming does far more for the environment than farmers ever get credit for.”
1The Mid and East Berwick Branch has also held its AGM and appointed officials for the ensuing year. The meeting was held in The Black Bulkl Hotel, Duns, with Duncan Martin from Nisbethill remaining in post as chairman. Guest speakers at the meeting were Robert Neill and Willie Thomson.
1Following on from a public meeting in November NFUS is holding a panel night, specifically for farmers, to find out what being included in a National Park would mean for you and your business. The event takes place on Tuesday, January 31, at The Auld Cross Keys, Denholm, 7pm for 7.30pm. The panel will consist of representatives from the Borders National Park campaign group as well as farmers working within existing National Parks in Scotland. All are welcome.