DESPITE THE restrictions of Covid-19, NFU Scotland has actually increased its engagement with the public, members and committees over the last few months.

At a virtual press conference arranged to mark what would usually be the union's peak of activity at the Royal Highland Show, its leadership reported that, with the lockdown forcing staff to work from home, 'innovative' ways of communicating had allowed NFUS to operate at full capacity with committees, working groups and the Board of Directors all meeting regularly.

NFU Scotland’s board had met virtually 13 times to date, and every region in Scotland, from Shetland to Dumfries and Galloway, had managed to have at least one regional board meeting during the last three months. The success of those videoconference events has sparked monitor meetings and branch meetings around the country being conducted in a similar way. A total of 42 virtual meetings have been held throughout all the regions.

Social media has been a key platform for the union to not only keep members up to date but also communicating with the public during lockdown, including two hugely successful videos where Scottish farmers and crofters thanked consumers for their support and encouraged them to buy local.

Vice president Martin Kennedy said: “It is fantastic to see how the staff and members have embraced the different technologies available to us in order to keep in touch and keep our vital industry going.

“With lockdown forcing consumers to look at the way they shop and consider where their food comes from and how it is produced, the union has been able to produce some excellent videos, blogs and infographics which will have helped to inform those looking to learn more about their food.

“During these strange times it is important to listen as well as talk and along with the regional, branch and monitor meetings which have already been held, it is important for NFU Scotland members to know that we are still open for business and available to take their enquiries.”