NOMINATIONS are now being sought for the roles of president and two vice presidents of the National Farmers Union of Scotland.

Officially firing the starting gun on the leadership contest, the union confirmed that it is going to be a 'big' election – incumbent president Andrew McCornick has nearly completed his maximum allowed term of four years, so his post needs filled.

Adding to the shake-up, current vice president Martin Kennedy has confirmed that he will stand for the presidency, while his fellow VP, Charlie Adam, has confirmed his intention not to stand for office. As such, the vice-presidential posts currently held by Mr Adam and Mr Kennedy will also need filled.

Any NFUS member can be nominated for election, providing they are proposed and seconded by fellow NFUS members. The presidential position is held for two years and a president can serve a maximum of two consecutive two-year terms. Under the terms of the union's constitution, those elected to the position of vice president will initially serve for two years before the post reverts to an annual election. Members of NFU Scotland’s council – a body made up from representatives of each of the union’s 73 branches – will select the successful candidates.

Those wishing to stand for these positions should contact NFUS chief executive Scott Walker to obtain a proposal form, which must then be signed and returned to him by 5pm on Thursday, December 17, 2020.

Details on who is standing will then be announced at the union’s Christmas Press Briefing on Monday December 21.

Mr Walker said: “The job of electing those who will fill our presidential seat and the two vice-presidential posts is now underway and we invite applications from those keen to lead NFUS and represent the Scottish farming industry at this pivotal time.

“Every elected presidential team faces a set of unique situations. Whoever is elected in February next year will be the first officeholder team in a generation who will have to navigate securing a profitable supply chain for farmers where agricultural policy will be determined here in Scotland without the benefits or disadvantages of an EU framework and where a UK Government is responsible for determining the trading relationships between the UK and the rest of the world.

“We will be running on-line hustings early in the New Year so that our membership has the opportunity to question the candidates. It is extremely unlikely, but should Covid-19 restrictions ease and face-to-face meetings be allowed, these will also be organised. Contingency plans for our annual conference, AGM and elections to be staged virtually in February are already well advanced," said Mr Walker.

“Holding the elected office of president or vice president is a great honour," he added. "All the people who put themselves forward have one thing in common, a common goal to do the best for the Scottish farming industry. I want to take the time to thank Charlie for his hugely valuable contribution to the working of our board for the past decade and I wish all those who stand in this election the very best. The whole of NFUS looks forward to working with the new team from February.”

Commenting on his decision not to stand for office, Mr Adam said: “It has been an absolute privilege to have been part of the board at NFUS for ten years, as regional chairman, livestock committee chairman and vice president. However, the time is right to step aside for new and diverse faces to fill that space.

“I will continue to keep up the fight on behalf of NFUS and Scottish agriculture and, with three months left in my current role, I will continue to give it my all. At 66, there are many other things I am keen to be involved in, including spending more time on my farm and with my family.”