NEIL WILSON has been appointed as executive director at the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland, with a remit to 'intensify its fight' for the interests of its members and the wider livestock industry.

With a farming family background, Mr Wilson, from Thornhill in Dumfriesshire, has most recently run his own specialist agricultural business consultancy, and was previously head of agriculture at HSBC Bank, leading one of the largest sectors within the company’s commercial banking division.

IAAS said that the new appointment came at a crucial time for both the institute and the wider livestock sector, amid a challenging climate for the entire rural economy. Mr Wilson will champion the role that the IAAS and its members – who represent every livestock auction mart in Scotland – play in addressing those challenges to strengthen agriculture, the food sector, other rural businesses and the communities in which they operate.

Mr Wilson will work to promote the livestock market system as 'the only transparent way to secure the best price and guaranteed payment', and advocate for the industry at the highest levels of Government. He said: “I admire the auction system and the unique way in which it provides the best environment to realise the most transparent and real-time pricing for farmers. My father’s an auctioneer so I have seen all my life the vital business that’s done in the auction ring.

“I have a strong knowledge of the sector and am delighted to have been given the opportunity to put that to use with IAAS to further strengthen its influence. I am looking forward to building on the tremendous work already underway to ensure the institute provides a powerful voice for the members it serves and for the wider agricultural community.

“I see an important part of my role being to forge greater links with other stakeholders throughout the agricultural industry to see where we can join forces and share ideas to meet the challenges we face and seize the opportunities which emerge as the entire rural sector continues to evolve.”

IAAS president Scott Donaldson added: “Neil brings with him a real understanding of the entire agriculture sector and the challenges it faces, which is critical as the industry deals with an array of serious issues, not least the uncertainty which will be brought by Brexit.

“Vibrant livestock markets are vital for flourishing rural economies. In what are anxious times generally for agriculture, the role of our members’ marts in ensuring fair and transparent prices has never been more important. Neil will help us deliver that message powerfully, build new relationships and expand our influence so that the voices of our members are heard.”