ADAM GRAY, one of the south of Scotland's most influential farmers, who was a stalwart of the Scottish Milk Market Board and a great supporter of the Simmental breed, has died.

He was born at Ingleston, Borgue, in 1929, the oldest son of Adam Gray and Elsie Annie Anderson McDowall. That made him Adam Gray the 8th – choosing names for the oldest children was not hard in the Gray family.

Always destined to be a farmer, in his formative years he and his younger brother, Robin, and younger sister, Fanny, attended Borgue Primary school during WW2 – and they carried their gas masks with them.

In 1940, the evacuation of Dunkirk saw Borgue's Home Guard numbers rise from 30 to 82 and a mock invasion of Borgue was organised. The Home Guard were to defend the village from the Boy Scouts, whose objective was to blow up the telephone exchange.

A young Adam and his friend, Hugh Parker, achieved the objective by hiding in the boot of the primary school headmaster, John Henderson’s car, which was not then searched by the guards. This totally irritated the platoon commander, who just happened to be his father.

Adam was schooled at George Watsons College, in Edinburgh and on leaving there attended the West of Scotland Agricultural College, where he was gained a National Diploma in Agriculture; and the Dairy School, at Auchincruive, where he received the National Diploma in Dairying.

On leaving college, aged 21, in 1951, he helped in a shipment of animals to Canada, which included cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and dogs. He spent four weeks in quarantine in St John and a further eight weeks in Oshawa and later remarked that he was only allowed to give water to the animals thanks to having joined the Freemasons, in Kirkcudbright, that same year.

The experience gave him a new outlook in life and on his return he pursued his wife to be, Elaine, during a five-year period which involved a lot of running up and down to Edinburgh. They were married in 1958 and spent the next 59 years together (she died 33 days prior to Adam).

Farming was changing and he reckoned he saw some of the biggest changes during his 'time', many of which today we take for granted. He sowed the first bag of nitrogen in Borgue, put in the second ever milking parlour and all of the challenges that brought. He maintained that Borgue farmers were progressive and gave rise to the parish being called 'the land of milk and honey'.

Adam had three sons, Adam, Bruce and Peter, and his mantra to them was 'now remember boys work hard and play hard ... but work hard first'.

He also had a busy community and public life. One of his first 'jobs' was to be chairman of Stewartry YFC and latterly club leader when it won the Allan Howie Trophy for the most efficient and best organised club in Scotland.

He was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to study grassland management in New Zealand, which he did in 1955, returning home to Ingleston to sow that first bag of nitrogen.

He played rugby for Dumfries, was captain in the 1957/58 season and then in the 1960s he was president of Kirkcudbright Burns Club and then secretary, a post he held for 30 years, retiring in 1997.

Adam was also president of Stewartry Agricultural Society and he helped form the Stewartry Agricultural Discussion Society in 1961 and became its second chairman in 1962.

In the NFU, he was branch president of the Stewartry branch in 67-68 and a council member from 1969 to 1980, where he was also vice-chairman of the milk committee for nine years.

The 1970s saw the arrival of three Simmental heifers as part of the first importation of Simmental cattle into the UK and the breed provided the family with reward, fun and friendships for many years. He was a council member of the society from 1974-1983.

Later, he became a director of the RHAS and was a honorary vice-president in 1994-1995, which was followed by being made a director of the Scottish Milk Marketing Board, with which he became a director of Scottish Pride, chairman of the Scottish Dairy Council and chairman of the UK Milk Publicity Council – all during the time when quotas arrived.

He was a governor of the West of Scotland Agricultural College, a council member of the Hannah Research Institute, also president of the Scottish Agricultural Arbiters Association and a fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies of the Commonwealth.

In 1994, he was awarded an OBE for services to agriculture in Scotland, going to Buckingham Palace to receive the award from the Queen. When he phoned his brother, Robin, in New Zealand to tell him of his medal, Robin informed him he had been knighted – and the family set was completed when in 1995 his sister, Faye, was awarded a MBE for services to the Red Cross.

Latterly, Adam took up writing books, mainly on local history, eventually publishing five books, including 'Whitegold', a history of the milk industry up until the demise of the SMMB in 1994. He also produced the 'Scots Agricultural Glossary', a definition of terms connected with Scottish agriculture.

Latterly, he told his family: “Everyman serves his time and generation" – and that Adam Gray did with distinction.