'FAMILY is at the heart of NFU Scotland’ – that was the message from union chief executive Scott Walker as he presided over the organisation's three-day conference and AGM online last week.

Mr Walker praised the membership's response to the twin shocks of Covid-19 and leaving the EU: “Scotland’s farmers and crofters continued without fail to demonstrate their resilience, adaptability and resourcefulness to ensure high-quality food and drink was available to consumers throughout 2020, the global pandemic and uncertainties of Brexit transition.

“Despite many working in isolating conditions exasperated by Covid-19 restrictions, I am pleased that the union has provided that family support for members during these unprecedented times. We adapted our ways of working, lobbied hard on key issues on their behalf, increased online communications and have been at the forefront of securing a positive future for Scottish agriculture," he said.

“As with other families across the UK, we have not been able to hold face-to-face meetings since March 2020. I am however delighted that throughout 2020, with our activities moved online, we have welcomed a diverse and dynamic mix of participants to our webinars, branch meetings, events, and hustings that many may have previously not been able to attend due to work, family or time constraints. We are embracing this trend and it will shape how we conduct business going forward.

“My thanks go to the out-going president, Andrew McCornick, who has played a key role in ensuring that Scottish farmers and crofters have been heard over his four years as president and through his earlier contributions at branch and regional level," added Mr Walker. "He has been a splendid ambassador for NFUS, listening to and working hard for each and every member. He is leaving NFUS and Scottish agriculture in a strong position and his legacy is a strong platform for us to build on.

“Similarly, I wish Charlie Adam a fond farewell as he steps down from his position of vice-president at the end of a decade in which he has also represented the livestock sector and the North East on our board. You have served us well."