A leading stalwart of Scotland’s hill farming industry, Jim Innes, Deskie, Glenlivet, has died at the age of 67 after a short illness.

Mr Innes’ determination to seek the best for Scotland’s hill farmers never waned and even from hospital bed he was in constant touch with his sons, Shaun and James, to see what was happening on his two farms, and with NFU Scotland colleagues, including national president, Andrew McCornick, urging them on to do something about the current crisis in the beef industry.

“He was a great neighbour and friend and did so much to promote the interests of hill farmers through NFU Scotland and other avenues,” said neighbour and NFUS colleague, Mrs Jo Durno. “He will be greatly missed by us all here in Glenlivet and by fellow hill farmers all over Scotland.”

Along with neighbour and friend, Alastair Nairn – affectionately known as the 'terrible twins' – he campaigned relentlessly for hill farmers which was recognised as far away as the Welsh Assembly. He was instrumental in persuading a well-known restaurant chain to switch to home-produced beef, lamb and pork in a deal worth several million pounds to the industry.

He was disappointed, though, that his proposal for a Scottish 'Livestock Initiative on Marketing' – designed to bring meat processors on side and improve the industry’s negotiating strength when dealing with supermarkets – came to nothing.

“He gave of his time selflessly for the benefit of others and was a great ambassador for the hills and glens of Scotland,” said Mr Nairn.

Mr Innes started farming with his father at Pitglassie, Dufftown, and retained the farm after moving to Deskie, on the Crown Estate, in 1985. He continued to manage both farms with the help of Shaun, at Deskie, and James,at Pitglassie.

He was well-known throughout Moray, having contract combined in the lower reaches of the area and provided a drying facility for barley which gave him an insight into the problems of farmers further down the hill.

The family run a total of 220 cows, mostly now Salers cross, and 750 ewes with barley being grown on the farms for feeding and straw for bedding. His interest in Salers cattle resulted in him to being asked to judge the bulls at the breed’s spring show and sale at Castle Douglas, at which he not only judged but bought the champion.

As well as his local involvement, Mr Innes represented the North-east at national level on NFU Scotland, serving five years on the national parks and access committee at the time of the creation of the Cairngorm National Park and five years championing hill farming as a member of the less favoured areas committee.

He was particularly proud to be the recipient of the 'North-east NFUS Unsung Hero' award a few years ago.

He was a keen badminton player in his younger days and a great supporter of his local community, acting as a trustee of the local Glenlivet Hall.

Mr Innes is survived by his wife, Jan, and four sons.