Fife farmer appointed new chair of agronomy co-op

Jim Mason, of Denbrae Farm in North-East Fife, takes over as chair of the Scottish co-operative
Jim Mason, of Denbrae Farm in North-East Fife, takes over as chair of the Scottish co-operative

Farming co-operative Scottish Agronomy has appointed Fife farmer Jim Mason as the new chair of its 12-strong board.

Following three years as vice chair, Mr Mason, of Denbrae Farm in North-East Fife, takes over from Thomas Pate, of South Powrie Farm near Dundee.

Growing cereals, potatoes, onions and broccoli across owned, rented and contracted land in Fife, he brings with him 15 years of board experience with East of Scotland Growers (EOSG), four years as chair.

Scottish Agronomy, which offers advice based on over 20,000 cutting edge trials plots, has more than 250 members from arable and potato enterprises.

“I joined Scottish Agronomy in 1989, soon after it was established, because I wanted to access independent advice that had my best interests at heart,” Mr Mason said.

“I am looking forward to working with the board, staff and executive team at Scottish Agronomy to take the cooperative into the next era, navigating the challenges and maximising the opportunities.”

The industry is facing a rising wave of change, instigated by Brexit, withdrawal of more agrochemical products and a government agenda urging farmers to produce more food for less.

However, Mr Mason said this was not all negative: "It will test us and there is risk but there’s also opportunity," he added.

"It’s an exciting time for members and the cooperative. Our role on the board is to look further ahead to allow management to run the business.

"We are constantly adapting to deliver an agronomy service that gives our members and staff stability and security to make decisions, keep motivated and always pointing to business improvement.”

Mr Mason said he was 'proud' to be chairing an organisation that had been integral to his own farming enterprise for over 30 years.

“I know from my years as a member the value of being part of the membership, both the savings I’ve made through recommendations untethered by sales targets, and what I’ve learned and continue to learn from others in my agronomy group.

"It constantly challenges you to think. Learning from the experience of the agronomists and other farming members is priceless.”