Former Kircubbin farmer Gary Mitchell has been elected as the new vice-president of the Scottish NFU.
Dumfriesshire farmer Andrew McCornick has been elected the 62nd President of NFU Scotland. Mr McCornick, previously a Vice President at the Union, now takes over one of the top jobs in Scottish agriculture.
Northern Ireland native Gary Mitchell from Wigtownshire will act as vice-president alongside Perthshire farmer Martin Kennedy.
Mr Mitchell made the move to the Scottish lowlands with his mother Miriam, father Leslie and sister Liz in 1980, a time when “an Ulster acre was worth three acres in Scotland so moving from 72 acres to over 200 made sound business sense.”
Gary’s father ran an arable operation with some beef on their new farm, but unfortunately passed away just eight years after the family moved across the water. Along with his mother Gary then expanded the farm by buying patches of ground “here and there.” In the years that followed he experimented with a mixture of multi-sucklers, arable and beef farming.
Having worked on a neighbouring dairy unit from the age of 15 Gary had an ambition to move into milk production, but because of quotas it was never a simple option.
Shortly after his mother’s passing in 2006 Gary got the opportunity to go on a Rural Leadership Course and came to the decision it was “now or never” to move into dairy farming.
By July that year he had purchased 180 bulling heifers and by September was milking 129 bought in cows at rented premises while converting the buildings on the home farm at West Galdenoch by Stoneykirk, Stranraer. By March the next year Gary was milking 240 cows four miles away and rearing 140 calves.
Also from Northern Ireland, Limavady lad Fergus started working for Gary five years ago, but took two and a half years out to work in New Zealand. The two have both brought their own ideas into the business to make it run as smoothly as possible.
As the highly regarded former NFU Scotland milk committee chairman Gary Mitchell is adamant that UK wide dairy farmers must constantly strive to ‘up their game’ to compete at a global level in this post quote era.