LMC board members reflect on eight years at the helm
Outgoing members of Northern Ireland’s Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) board reflect on their time in post as their term nears its end.
LMC chairman Gerard McGivern and board members Gerry Maguire, Harry Sinclair and Jim Lennon are due to step down from their roles this June. Board member Oonagh Chesney stepped down from her position on the LMC board in early February.
All five board members took up their positions in 2015. Joe Stewart also sits on the LMC board having taken up his position in 2021. Recruitment for five positions is currently ongoing via the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
Looking back on his time as chairman of the LMC board, McGivern said it had been a “thoroughly rewarding experience.” He said: “LMC plays a pivotal role in supporting the beef and lamb industry and, in my position as chairman, I was afforded the opportunity to contribute to influencing and shaping policies and strategies which support the sustainable growth and development of a dynamic and forward-looking industry, one which contributes over £1.5 billion per annum to the NI economy.
“Throughout my term as chairman, I engaged directly with industry stakeholders and I gained extensively from the insight and knowledge of industry leaders, which in turn helped ensure that LMC remains proactive and responsive to the needs of the beef and lamb sector. In this regard I am also grateful for my colleague board members for their wise counsel and informed opinion.”
Echoing the sentiments of McGivern, Gerry Maguire described his time as an LMC board member as “hugely rewarding”. He said: “It was great to work with other board members and LMC management, not only to have some input into the working of the LMC but see at close quarters how they engage successfully with their stakeholders and government sponsor. Engagement and communication has been key to the trust that the LMC management has built up with the stakeholders and they have established themselves as an organisation that can play an important role in an industry which is continuously adjusting to suit ever changing trends and challenges in food production.”
Jim Lennon remarked that he too had enjoyed his time as an LMC board member.
“I joined the board of LMC in July 2015, I did not then realise that the NI agri food industry was about to face some of its biggest challenges in over 50 years and that the LMC would be at the heart of many of these events – Brexit, sustainability, climate change and the new agricultural policy impacting on the red meat sector in NI.
“During my time on the board of LMC the work was varied, interesting and of high value to both farmers and processors in NI. My background was and is in farming, as a small beef producer, but the work on the board of LMC exposed me to the complexities of food production, the complexities of long supply chains and the value of the work of LMC, particularly in development and maintenance of world leading Farm Quality Assurance standards and the collation of high quality data to support both primary producers and processors in marketing and exporting NI’s produce throughout the world.”
As their time as members of the LMC board nears its close each of gentlemen noted things they would take away from their experience.
Maguire said his take away point is always ‘the people’. He remarked, “I’ve worked with a lot of great board members, past and present and I think we have always managed to strike a good balance with management and stakeholders while delivering governance. A big thank you to Ian and his team for all their support and management.”
Lennon echoed this adding: “It has been a pleasure to work with high quality staff and board members during my time with LMC. The work of LMC is valuable to NI and the position of a director is both an honour and a position of responsibility which I have enjoyed.”
McGivern said: “I come away with an immense appreciation and gratitude for the many beef and lamb producers and processors who day and daily work tirelessly and diligently to ensure that our highly valued Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured beef and lamb continues to provide safe, sustainable, quality wholesome food produced to the highest standards of animal health and welfare on these islands and throughout the world.”
Concluding McGivern said: “On behalf of the Board and indeed of the beef and lamb sector, I would wish to commend the CEO and staff of the LMC who collectively provide industry with a level of service, which is the envy of other agri-food sectors.”