Influential farmer and stalwart of the Scottish Milk Marketing Board

Born: August 6, 1929;

Died: December 24, 2017

ADAM GRAY, who has died aged 88, was one of the south of Scotland’s most influential farmers, a stalwart of the Scottish Milk Marketing Board and a great supporter of Simmental breed of cattle.

He was born at Ingleston, Borgue, Kirkcudbright, in 1929, the oldest son of Adam Gray and Elsie Annie Anderson McDowall. That made him Adam Gray the 8th – choosing names for the oldest children was not hard in the Gray family.

Always destined to be a farmer, in his formative years he and his younger brother, Robin, and younger sister, Fanny, attended Borgue Primary school during the Second World War. He was schooled at George Watson's College, in Edinburgh and on leaving there attended the West of Scotland Agricultural College, where he gained a national diploma in agriculture, and the Dairy School, at Auchincruive, where he received the national diploma in dairying.

He left college, aged 21, in 1951 at a time when farming was changing and reckoned that he saw some of the biggest changes during his time in the job. He sowed the first bag of nitrogen in Borgue and put in the second ever milking parlour with all of the challenges that brought.

He married Elaine in 1958 and they spent the next 59 years together (she died 33 days prior to Adam). They had three sons, Adam, Bruce and Peter.

He also had a busy community and public life. One of his first jobs was chairman of Stewartry YFC and latterly club leader when it won the Allan Howie Trophy for the most efficient and best organised club in Scotland.

He was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to study grassland management in New Zealand, which he did in 1955, returning home to Ingleston to sow that first bag of nitrogen.

He played rugby for Dumfries, was captain in the 1957/58 season and then in the 1960s he was president of Kirkcudbright Burns Club and then secretary, a post he held for 30 years, retiring in 1997.

He was also president of Stewartry Agricultural Society and he helped form the Stewartry Agricultural Discussion Society in 1961 and became its second chairman in 1962.

In the NFU, he was branch president of the Stewartry branch in 67-68 and a council member from 1969 to 1980, where he was also vice-chairman of the milk committee for nine years.

The 1970s saw the arrival of three Simmental heifers as part of the first importation of Simmental cattle into the UK and the breed provided the family with reward, fun and friendships for many years. He was a council member of the society from 1974-1983.

Later, he became a director of the RHAS and was a honorary vice-president in 1994-1995, which was followed by being made a director of the Scottish Milk Marketing Board, with which he became a director of Scottish Pride, chairman of the Scottish Dairy Council and chairman of the UK Milk Publicity Council – all during the time when quotas arrived.

He was a governor of the West of Scotland Agricultural College, a council member of the Hannah Research Institute, also president of the Scottish Agricultural Arbiters Association and a fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies of the Commonwealth.

In 1994, he was awarded an OBE for services to agriculture in Scotland.

Latterly, Adam took up writing books, mainly on local history, eventually publishing five books, including Whitegold, a history of the milk industry up until the demise of the SMMB in 1994.