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Showdown looming as NBA row
comes to a head
Editor, Farm North East
Filed 18 Apr 06
This article was originally
published in the April 2006 issue of Farm North East
and is reproduced here by kind permission
The future of the National Beef Association (NBA)
in Scotland will be determined at a meeting of the Scottish Beef
Council (SBC) on Thursday, April 6.
But the small group led by Border Limousin breeder,
Keith Redpath, and SBC president, John Cameron, who are threatening
to break-away from the NBA, are unlikely to get it all their own
There is a groundswell of opinion among the 650
members in Scotland that Scottish beef farmers’ interests
are best served by a united national organisation rather than an
independent Scottish body.
“I don’t believe Scottish members
want to see a break-away organisation,”
said SBC member, Iain Mathers, Wardes, Kintore.
“We get the best of both worlds at
present – representation in Westminster and Brussels through
the national organisation while the Scottish council has access
to the Scottish Executive on specifically Scottish issues.”
Mr Mathers added:
“The future of the NBA in Scotland must
be decided on what members want – it is not about personalities
and what individuals may want.”
The issue is set to come to a head at the April
6 meeting after a year of bitter in-fighting which culminated in
Mr Redpath being asked to resign at the last meeting of the NBA
board. A resolution will now go forward to the association’s
AGM seeking to remove him from the board.
Mr Redpath is the sole Scottish representative
on the board and has been a constant critic of the NBA’s financial
management. After seven years as vice-chairman, he was defeated
for the chairmanship last autumn by Northumberland farmer, Duff
Burrell, who has acted quickly to stem the NBA’s growing losses.
The office has been moved from Malvern to Hexham
and staffing levels reduced but SBC chairman, Pat Lambert, has called
for more cost-cutting. He is reported to have said – but has
denied – that he wants the NBA to get rid of policy adviser,
Kim Hayward, and halve the salary of chief executive, Robert Forster.
Mr Burrell says he is “relaxed” about
the NBA’s financial situation but admits that one-off redundancy
and removal costs have eaten into reserves.
“I’m not complacent about the financial
situation but the NBA is doing a tremendous job representing beef
producers’ interests and that costs money,”
said Mr Burrell.
“I want to see our income spent on promoting
members’ interests and not on building up vast reserves,”
Mr Mathers has the support of North council member,
Hamish Macbean, who says beef producers cannot afford two organisations
to represent them.
“I am dead against a break-away,”
said Mr Macbean.
“If one or two want to break-away, they
can go but the majority of members will stay with the national
But Jim Forbes, Lochdhu, Nairn, said the NBA was
losing focus because of internal wrangles and Scottish beef producers
would be better served by an independent Scottish body.
Ayrshire member, Charles Russell, said he had
always felt Scotland would be best represented as part of a well-run
national body but recent events had forced him to question the governance
of the organisation and its lack of communication with Scottish
Mr Lambert and his vice-chairman, Jim Kennedy,
are in favour of the break-away move by Mr Redpath and Mr Cameron,
and are also believed to have the support of former Scottish chairman,
John Bell, Fife, and Drew Adam, Forfar.
Rank-and-file member, Peter Morrison, Ingliston,
Inverurie, says he is 100% behind the national organisation and
has forcefully made his views known to Mr Lambert.
©Eddie Gillanders, Farm North East