Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has appointed respected Borders farmer Nigel Miller to the boards of SRUC and SAC Commercial Ltd.
SRUC Chairman Lord Jamie Lindsay said: “We fully recognise the breadth and depth of Nigel’s first-hand experience, ranging from the agri-politics of Edinburgh, London and Brussels to the veterinary profession and family farming.
“Nigel joins the SRUC and SAC Commercial boards at an exciting time and, with his knowledge, experience and undoubted commitment to the Scottish farming community his contribution to how we best serve the industry going forward will be invaluable.”
Mr Miller said: “This is a time of extraordinary change for agriculture in Europe with volatile markets and extreme climate events challenging traditional systems. It is also a time of incredible opportunity with food and the environment at the centre of public concern, with the rural economy a political priority. SRUC and its consulting arm SAC Consulting are at the core of that dynamic landscape with a key role in energising and supporting business, production systems and biodiversity.
“SRUC research and education are vital to our new generation who must take our industry to a new level as both food security and climate change strengthen their grip on the world.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to SRUC in what is an exciting period of change. I look forward to working with the SRUC team, playing a small part in building the strength of agricultural research and education in Scotland and ensuring SRUC remains close to farmers on the ground.”
Nigel is both a vet and a farmer and spent his early working life in veterinary practice in the north of Scotland before returning to farm in the Borders in Galawater. He was president of NFU Scotland from 2011 until February this year.
In 2001 he joined the veterinary teams in Dumfries and Galloway involved in the Foot and Mouth outbreak and experienced at first hand the devastating effect the disease had on stock, the farming community, vets and the local economy. Following the Foot and Mouth outbreak Nigel was involved with Government in the review of disease control strategy and the implementation of a new contingency plan.
Since then has played an influential role in shaping Scotland’s animal health and welfare contingency plans in Scotland, including responses to Bluetongue, Bovine TB and Schmallenberg. His first industry-led action was in bringing a group of stakeholders together including SAC to create the Scottish Sheep Scab initiative. That industry led campaign developed further as Government in consultation with stakeholders brought Sheep Scab back to Notifiable status through a mandatory reporting requirement.
He has also been at the forefront of initiatives to keep out major threats like BVD and TB and has been an active and supportive partner of SRUC and the health schemes run by SAC Consulting Veterinary Services. In February this year Nigel was announced as chair of the new body Livestock Health Scotland.