The Irish Farmers Journal lost a close friend when Robin Morrow passed away on Thursday morning, 1 April, after a brief illness.
WR Morrow was a man with a huge passion for agriculture, agribusiness and farming politics. He was a born leader, always prepared to state his views and debate the consequences. But while he might disagree strongly, he could agree to differ. He did not bear grudges and was quick to move on with the task in hand.
Having served as a club leader and president of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster, Robin moved on to leadership positions across the spectrum of farm organisations in Northern Ireland. Probably the most challenging was during the deregulation of milk marketing in the 1990s.
As serving chair of the Milk Marketing Board (MMB) for Northern Ireland and founding Chair of United Dairy Farmers (now Dale Farm), he was deeply involved in the unprecedented transition from statutory organisation to farmers’ co-operative. He was at the heart of negotiations when United made the key acquisition of the Dale Farm business from English parent company Northern Foods.
Robin’s position within the MMB and earlier as president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union in the 1970s during the transition period of the UK, Ireland and Denmark into membership of the European Economic Community brought him into contact with many farming leaders across the UK, Ireland and Europe. He had a massive network of contacts, many of whom became good friends.
Presidency of the Ulster Grassland Society brought him into contact with the Irish Grassland Association and Paddy O’Keeffe, late editor of the Irish Farmers Journal, with whom he formed a close friendship. Robin loved life and lived it to the full, going on later to be president of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society and an honorary life member of the RDS. He was also honoured with the award of CBE for services to agriculture.
To his wife Frances, daughter Claire, sons Peter, Alan and Stephen and the wide family circle, we extend our sincere condolences.