DOUGLAS Bell has been appointed as the new managing director of the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association. Mr Bell succeeds Angus McCall, who will step down later this year.

Mr Bell is well known and respected within Scottish farming circles having held key roles within both Quality Meat Scotland and SAC Consulting.

STFA chairman Christopher Nicholson said: “We are very pleased to welcome Doug to the STFA team. His appointment comes at a critical time for Scottish farming.

"Within the next few years we will see the development of new agricultural policy to replace the former CAP framework, and it is vital that measures introduced are feasible and fair for the tenanted sector to allow tenants to compete on a level playing field with owner occupiers.

"The nature of farming is likely to change, with more emphasis on carbon, the environment, and biodiversity, and more financial reliance on diversified incomes. These are all big challenges for tenants operating under restrictive agricultural leases," he noted.

"Tenants farm a quarter of agricultural land in Scotland and they must be able to play their part. Doug brings with him decades of valuable experience working through previous CAP reforms with farmers, government and stakeholders and is ideally placed to steer us through the changes ahead.”

Following his appointment, Mr Bell said: “I am delighted to be taking up my position with STFA. Brexit, coupled with pressures to address climate change and the environment, means our industry is very much at a crossroads. As new agricultural policy is developed it is crucial that tenant farmers have a strong and influential voice to ensure their businesses are not impacted disproportionately.

"As policy reforms are brought forward, STFA will have a key role to play representing the interests of its members and the tenanted sector in general.”

Mr McCall, who was STFA’s first chairman and a founding member of the association back in 2004, said: “I am delighted that Doug has taken up the role as managing director for STFA. With his background and experience, he is the ideal candidate to steer us through the challenges ahead facing tenant farmers. He is well known amongst our membership from his work with QMS and SAC Consulting, indeed he has already been on many of their farms in the past.

"Doug is also a hands-on beef and sheep farmer as a partner in his family farming business, an experience which will be valued by tenants seeking good practical advice."