The recent and untimely death of Stewart Jamieson has robbed the farming world in Scotland and beyond of a champion of tenant farmers’ rights and, though retired, an excellent dairy farmer in his own right.

Born in Clydebank, just outside Glasgow, in 1949, he was the second child of Jenny and Stewart who farmed Auchinleck. The family moving four years later to Kirkland Farm, at Closeburn, Dumfries-shire, where Stewart grew up and made a prodigious list of life-long friendships were.

He studied agriculture at Glasgow University between 1967 and 1971 before moving to the seat of learning about dairy cows, Reading University, in 1971 to study animal behaviour and grass utilisation and gain a doctorate. The early 1970s was a busy time for him: he met Frances at a family wedding in 1972, they married the following year and then in 1975 returned to Kirkland to farm in partnership with his parents.

At that time Kirkland was a tenanted farm, but Stewart took the chance to buy Kirkland and nearby Rosehill in 2003. By that time he had also embraced organic food production, converting his Dalgarnock herd into a pioneer of production without the use of synthetics.

In the days before it became fashionable, Stewart was an ‘influencer’, serving on many committees and boards well away the farm’s kitchen table. He was involved with the Roslin Institute, DairyCo, Holstein breeders, Cara Consultants, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Scottish Organic Milk Producers Association, but his ability to combine learning with fun was perhaps best summed up by his membership of The Cowboys. This was a loose organisation of progressive and sociable farmers which relished embracing new ideas through study tours, some of them abroad – working and playing hard at the end of the day.

Stewart made many lasting friendships through this medium, including Alan Stannett, of Cara Consultants, who said: “He was a gregarious and sociable man and thrived in the company of others and had a wonderful ability to get on with anyone and find common ground. He was curious about people and had an uncanny ability to ask questions to reveal interesting things about everyone he met.”

Politically, he was a proud Scot and it was probably that which led him to be actively involved in the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association. Using his influencing skills, Stewart lobbied government and parliament and spoke up for tenants in the press, thus shaping the most important and recent piece of legislation, aimed at protecting tenant’s rights, the 2003 Agricultural Holdings Bill (Scotland).

This allowed many farmers, especially within his own locale, to buy their own farms and self-determine their futures.

He liked to ‘lift his head above the farm gate’ and had an eye for the future, not only in his farming life, but on a human level too. Stewart was an early supporter of women’s football and at one time coached the Solway Star team, as well as being an enthusiastic, if frustrated, member of the Tartan Army.

An interest in the local community also led Stewart to write the history of Wallace Hall Academy and latterly he was chronicling the history of the Royal Highland Show.

Stewart passed away recently after a short illness and is survived by his wife Frances and three daughters, Mairi, Anna and Lisa, plus seven grandchildren on whom he doted, with family life being THE most important thing for him.