Peter Myles has been re-approved for his second year as NSA Scotland chairman at the NSA Scotland Annual Regional Members Meeting (ARMM) held in Selkirk. The hybrid meeting, open to members and guests, took place in person and over Zoom last week.

Current treasurer Mary Dunlop, Biggar, was elected as vice-chair and treasurer unopposed with the Association’s finances now predominately managed by NSA headquarters down in Malvern, Worcestershire.

Clive Phillips was elected as UK policy and technical committee representative to serve a three-year term. Meanwhile, Pamela Nicol, Glenisla, was re-approved to continue her three-year term as trustee for a second year with Debs Colley, Crawford, also being elected to serve as second trustee over a three- year term, replacing Mr Myles.

NSA national activity and policy updates were provided to attendees by policy manager Emma Bradbury, with members raising concerns surrounding the issues of sea eagles and animal movement restrictions from the recent Bluetongue outbreak.

There were also calls to push for the development of new vaccines for other viruses transmitted from midges such as the Schmallenberg virus.

A Scotland-specific policy update was then provided by NSA Scottish Region co-ordinator Grace Reid which highlighted the progress made in animal health and welfare via the OPA and Sheep Scab working groups. However, Ms Reid stressed that more work is needed to be done in these areas with further testing for sheep scab alongside responsible shepherding and communication when dealing with these diseases in particular. Another priority for the Association is the new Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill which has started making its way through Holyrood.

NSA Scotland recognised key aspects of the Bill which the Rural Affairs and Islands Committee is currently focusing on such as terminology used; the scope of the Bill; timescale; budget; its variations with English policy; continuing professional development; and animal welfare.

The meeting took place after a guided tour of the British Wool Marketing Board’s new wool depot in Selkirk, provided by Mike Sanderson and Davie Swinton from British Wool. The tour was an opportunity for attendees to learn about the processes of wool once it reaches the depot to its distribution around the world – and the steps in between.

Mr Myles concluded the meeting by stating: “Thanks to the work of the committee members, 2023 proved to be a busy and active year and I hope that continues into a successful 2024 with events like the hotly-anticipated NSA Scotsheep at Aikengall Farm, Dunbar, by kind permission of the Hamilton Family on Wednesday, June 5.

“I hope our members had an informative day touring around the wool depot and were able to have a greater understanding of the work done by British Wool and also NSA Scotland.”