2010 has been a good year for NFU Scotland with policy successes across the spectrum and the organisation is also hopeful of finishing 2010 with a net membership increase for the fourth consecutive year.
More than 320 farmers have joined the union this year and, based on the strength of this, NFUS is continuing to reinvest in services for its membership, including new staff members at NFUS head office and a review of how the union is functioning.
NFUS will elect a new presidential team in 2011 as current president, Jim McLaren steps down after four years in the role.
The new year will bring new policy challenges, in particular formation of the CAP post-2013 and ongoing efforts to improve fairness in the supply chain.
The importance of these two issues is especially acute in light of the dreadful winter endured by many NFUS members early in 2010 and again as we head into 2011, combined with rising feed, fuel and fertiliser costs.
NFU Scotland chief executive, James Withers said: “After four successful years as president, Jim McLaren will stand aside and NFUS members will elect a new top team.
The new presidential team will inherit an organisation strong in heart, finance and membership.
“Jim will complete his term having presided over four consecutive years of net membership growth; over 1500 new members have joined NFUS since 2007, many have been recruited by Jim personally over the kitchen table.
“The organisation and the industry owes Jim an enormous debt of gratitude and he will leave NFUS having put us in a stronger position than ever before.
“At the end of 2010 NFU Scotland’s board agreed a new five-year plan for NFUS which will see NFUS build a platform to ensure we remain Scotland’s leading agricultural organisation.
“In particular, we will be using the expertise of our current and new members of staff to assist our members in a way that reflects farming in the 21st century.
“NFUS has scored some significant victories this year, including re-focused funding for producers in the Less Favoured Areas; funding to tackle BVD; derogations and the creation of a database to make sheep ID regulations practicable; mitigating the impact of the IPPC regulations; the list goes on.
“In 2011, in addition to ongoing policy work, NFUS has set its sights on the future of the CAP.
“NFUS and its members have already been central to the Brian Pack inquiry into the future of SFP and, while debate continues on some of the finer points of the report, its advanced publication, compared to other EU member states, has put Scotland at the centre of EU debate on the issue.
“Another item high on the agenda is supply chain fairness. NFUS initiated much of the work in this area in 2004 and we are delighted that a supermarket adjudicator now looks more likely than ever.”