Orkney farmer Paul Ross has been elected as the new chairman of the Scottish Beef Association.
Taking over from Aberdeenshire producer David Barron whose term in office had come to its end, Ross farms 105 sucklers and 100 ewes at Lenahowe, Sandwick on the Orkney Mainland.
“I am looking forward to leading the SBA even though it is a time of huge uncertainty,” said Ross. “There will be new agricultural support schemes to cope with before long as well as a number of environmental schemes.”
Ross, who has a track record of fighting the industry’s corner said that social media appeared to have meat production in its sights – adding that the industry needed to become better at responding to the criticism and to correcting misleading statements which often didn’t apply to the production processes used on Scottish farms.
“Respected scientists are now saying that well managed grass can store as much carbon as trees and we should be helping to spread that message,” he said.
But he stressed that one of the biggest challenges was to maintain cow numbers: “Our end-product is in demand which is great, but our costs are now very high. Labour is also a major issue especially for our processor customers.”
Reappointed to the board were Neil Wilson, the chief executive of the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS), Ronnie Mackie of the Ross Farm at Madderty and John Cameron, Balbuthie, Leven, with David Barron taking the role of vice chairman. .