Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP has been honoured for his outstanding contribution to rural affairs in Scotland.
He has been awarded a Fellowship of the Scottish Agricultural College in recognition of his contributions to agriculture.
Mr Fergusson, a former student of the college, received the honour at an award ceremony at Glasgow University’s Bute Hall on Friday July 4.
Mr Fergusson has been a farmer for more than 30 years and during this time has held a number of high-profile posts. He is an Honorary President of the Blackface Sheepbreeders’ Association, a Member of the Scottish Landowners’ Federation and has previously worked as a farm management consultant.
Mr Fergusson said: “As a former student of the college and having completed a Diploma in Agriculture in 1970, I am greatly honoured to be awarded this prestigious Honorary Fellowship.
“I have always sought to work for the betterment of rural Scotland, both before and after entering politics, and am very proud to be recognised by the Scottish Agricultural in this way.”
Mr Fergusson began his political career in 1999 when he was elected to the Scottish Parliament on the South of Scotland list. He was re-elected as Member for the Galloway and Upper Nithsdale in 2003 and again in 2007.
His decision to enter the political area was fuelled by his desire for there to be a rural voice for the South of Scotland in the Scottish Parliament.
From 2001 to 2003, he was Convener of the Rural Development Committee and led work on the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill, the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Bill and the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill. He was principal Conservative spokesman on Rural Development before being elected Presiding Officer last year.
In honouring the Presiding Officer, Professor Bill McKelvey, Chief Executive and Principal of the Scottish Agricultural College said: “Alex Fergusson’s qualities of diplomacy and honest engagement demonstrate the core values of SAC and our students.”