Four vying for spot on union’s top team

Four contenders are understood to still be in the running for the vacancy on the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) top team.

The position of junior deputy president comes available as part of a reshuffle, as the organisation’s current president Barclay Bell reaches the end of his two-year term.

South Armagh farmer Ivor Ferguson, who is currently the organisation’s deputy president, is set to take over. Junior deputy president Victor Chestnutt is expected to take up Ferguson’s position.

Fourth-generation farmer Victor Chestnutt developed his north-west home farm into several livestock enterprises – mainly sucklers and sheep – with his son David making the move into dairying in 2009.

He is also a former Focus Farmer and National Sheep Association Farmer of the Year; and has previously featured on UTV’s ‘Rare Breed’.

If he is re-elected as deputy president it would leave the other deputy president position up for grabs.

The union’s 400 council members are set to vote tomorrow at around 2:00pm at Greenmount College.

The four contenders are:
  • Ian Buchanan from Dungiven, Co. Derry;
  • David Brown from Florencecourt, Co. Fermanagh;
  • Tim McClelland from Tandragee, Co. Armagh;
  • Crosby Cleland from Saintfield, Co. Down.

All four have a strong track record in the industry.

Ian Buchanan

Ian Buchanan runs a sheep, dairy and beef farm alongside his wife and two sons in Dungiven.

He has just ended a 12-year term as Northern Ireland’s British Wool board representative and led the Ulster Wool re-brand.

Buchanan is also a former Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster president and UFU hill farming committee chairman.

He also sits on the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) board and is vice chairman of the local farmers’ co-op.

David Brown

David Brown is a suckler-to-beef farmer who has worked hard to expand the business. He is also a current committee member and past chairman of the Fermanagh Grassland Club.

He was co-opted on to the UFU management board and currently serves on the strategy subcommittee.

He also represents the red meat sector on the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) advisory group.

Tim McClelland

Tim McClelland took over his family’s 270ac farm in 1997. Over the last few decades, the business has changed from a mixed farm to an arable enterprise.

He previously represented Northern Ireland in the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Nature of Farming Awards, which recognises the extra mile some farmers go for nature.

He is also a former Nuffield scholar studying the topic, ‘Why are you farming: Business or pleasure?’.

Crosby Cleland

Crosby Cleland farms 800 ewes and finishing lambs on 63ha along with running an agricultural fencing business.

Surprisingly, Cleland admits he was born a ‘townie’ – having been brought up in Newtownards. However, he has gone on to become one of the most respected farmers in his field.

In 2008, he was named the Farmers’ Weekly’s UK Sheep Farmer of the Year.

He has served as a former chairman of the UFU’s beef and lamb committee and was involved in Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Northern Ireland earlier this year.

Each candidate will have the opportunity to speak for two minutes before voting takes place.