Vice president Rob makes his bid for top NFUS post

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Lilliesleaf livestock farmer Rob Livesey is standing for the presidency of the National Farmers Union of Scotland in February.

Currently vice president, Rob, of Firth Farm, is looking to step into fellow Borders farmer Nigel Miller’s shoes when the fellow livestock farmer of Stagehall, Stow steps down after four years in the top job.

Fellow vice, Fife producer Allan Bowie has also tossed his hat into the ring and further nominations are being invited.

Rob said: “I want to continue the great work done by Nigel, especially on animal health, wide political engagement, seeing fairness between sometimes conflicting sectors and getting a good deal for Scottish agriculture.”

The Borderer has been vice president for two terms (two years) and before that was the union’s livestock committee chairman for four years.

His other aims are to “encourage consumers and processors of farm produce to appreciate the value of that raw material and its importance to the wellbeing of society as a whole, both economically and environmentally.”

He also wants to “increase the self esteem of the farming community and encourage new blood, which will invigorate and drive innovation, making farming a more confident industry.”

And, a surefire vote winner, he wants to “try to stem the tide of endless, energy sapping bureaucracy”.

A past chairman of the union’s Selkirk branch, Rob farms the tenanted 600-acre Firth with his wife Kath and son Ian. The family rent a further 200 acres nearby and run 1,100 mule ewes, 80 Salers cows and grow 125 acres of cereals.

Before moving to Firth, Rob, 53, managed Glenapp Estate at Ballantrae in south Ayrshire - where he also chaired the local Girvan NFU branch - for seven years after leaving the family farm at Bonchester Bridge.

Rob and Kath’s oldest son Rory is an auctioneer at Thainstone in Aberdeenshire.

The union is taking nominations for the two-year presidency and one-year vice presidents’ posts until Friday December 12.

NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker said: “In the run up to our annual general meeting in February, when the elections will take place, we will be having a wider debate with the membership to ensure our constitution is fit for purpose.

“As well as that debate, we will be holding a range of hustings across all of our regions early in the New Year. This will give candidates the opportunity to speak to as many of our members as possible in the run up to the elections.

“We would ask that if anyone is planning to run for either president or vice president that they let me know, so that the union can provide support where possible. Making our wide network of branches and offices aware of all candidates will maximise the opportunities available to them to speak to the membership first hand.

“For those keen to learn what the roles entail, full descriptions of what is expected of a vice president and president are available on our website as guidance. For those keen to represent their fellow Scottish farmers, these are the most respected positions in our sector.”

The election will take place at the council meeting following the union’s AGM in St Andrews in February next year.