11 November 2022
SOPA's new chairman announces his vision.
AFTER five years as the Chairman at SOPA, Edward Smith stepped down from the helm in August 2022.
Edward had a significant influence on the organic co-operative, bringing about financial stability, new staff to supplement the existing Membership Services and a strategic plan giving clear direction for the next five years. Edward will remain on the SOPA board as Director.
Following seven years as board director, Roger Baird has now been appointed as the new Chairman. Roger began trading organic combinable crops around 20 years ago and joined the SOPA Board in 2015.
He said: "I believe the present farming environment is at the crux of Scottish Government’s vision to make Scottish agriculture more sustainable, protecting biodiversity and mitigating climate change. No other means of food production offers the proven suite of complementary benefits to deliver the gold standard for sustainable agriculture.
"From my experience, any growth in the organic sector must be tailored to demand to avoid the oversupply we witnessed a decade ago and the subsequent dismantling of organic premia, leading to market disruption. We want to help our members maintain a sustainable and steady growth of their businesses so they can continue to offer the wide environmental benefits associated with organic food production. Our emphasis on nutritional value, chemical-free food, and soil health will be at the very heart of our work in what looks to be a bright future."
Gordon Whiteford of Lower Mill of Tynet farm in Fochabers, remains vice chair and has been such since Aug 2017.