BORDERS farmer Kate Rowell has been appointed by Scottish ministers as the new chair of Quality Meat Scotland.

Mrs Rowell, who has been a member of the QMS board since April 2015, will take over the role on October 1, when current chair Jim McLaren steps down after almost eight years at the helm.

A qualified vet, she is a fifth generation farmer, running the Hundleshope farm on the Haystoun Estate, where the family have been tenants for 150 years. She runs the hill unit near Peebles with her husband Ed and their four children

Mrs Rowell said she was delighted and very much looking forward to taking up the role of chair at the start of next month. During the coming weeks she will be spending time working closely with current chairman Jim McLaren to ensure a smooth handover and transition.

“I feel privileged to have this opportunity to play such a pivotal role in the Scottish red meat industry. I am very much looking forward to getting out and about in the coming weeks and months to hear more from people working in all parts of the red meat industry,” said Mrs Rowell.

Mr McLaren, said he was looking forward to working closely with Mrs Rowell over the coming weeks, before stepping down on October 1.

“Kate brings a wealth of experience to the role of chair, both as a farmer and a vet. Her passion for farming is shared by her enthusiasm for the wider industry and inspiring and educating people about farming and where their food comes from.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure in the role of QMS chair which has given me an opportunity to see first hand the superb range of activities delivered by what is a very small team of staff at QMS.

“I have also been fortunate to have been supported by very strong board members during my period in post and I look forward to continuing to support the valuable work of QMS as a levypayer after I step down.”

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick commented: “I congratulate Kate on her appointment as chair of QMS and look forward to working with her when she is in position. Kate’s appointment comes during a period of change for the Scottish red meat sector as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. Changes to farm support and market opportunities will alter industry requirements for promotion and development and NFU Scotland will work closely with Kate and everyone at QMS to ensure that sector requirements are met going forward.

“Thank you to outgoing chairman Jim McLaren who has demonstrated upbeat enthusiasm and firm commitment to the Scottish red meat sector in his seven years as chairman, acting as a constant advocate for Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork and was rightly recognised with the Scotland Food and Drink Outstanding Achievement Award in June.”