About us

Scotland’s experts on farmer co-ops and food industry collaboration, we work with food and farming businesses to make them more profitable, competitive, and sustainable - working together to shape the future, today. #workingtogether we grow

What we do

All of SAOS's work centres on facilitating farmers and food and drink businesses to work together effectively. Over the years we've also developed several subsidiary businesses - getting the right people together and making innovative advancements to help benefit the entire food and farming industry and rural Scotland.

Events & Training

Developing staff capability is one of the most effective ways to improve a co-op’s performance. Check out our events and training programme - most of which are open to non co-op members too.


As a development organisation, owned by our members, we provide a range of specialist services not available elsewhere, to assist them in developing their people and their businesses. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.

What's New

See below for all the latest news, views and updates from us here at SAOS. Find all our latest videos on YouTube at: SAOS - working together in food and farming

The Art of Being an Effective Chairperson

24 October 2023

24 and 31 October, 10:00am - 12:00pm

a two session online workshop

Having successfully delivered this workshop in-person for many years, we have now redesigned it as a two-part online session to help reach and support as many people as possible.

Role of the Chairperson

The chairperson’s role is different from other directors. Ultimately, they lead the board and are responsible for its governance and strategic effectiveness. They are also the primary link with senior management to ensure that the co-op delivers on its obligations to members, staff, creditors, and the wider community in both communications and performance.

Who should attend?

These workshops are intended for both chairs and vice-chairs who are looking to strengthen their understanding of best practice to be a successful chairperson. We want to ensure that our co-op chairs have the tools required to be confident in their approach to preserving the co-operative values whilst building ambition amongst the board and executive team, so that your own co-op remains relevant to members into the future.

Learning Outcomes

There will be a mix of briefings and discussions that address the chairperson role and responsibilities, the behavioural dynamics of the board, and the skills required to be an effective chairperson. The art of leading a board and chairing a meeting is often left to chance or learned through time and observation but here we will outline obligations and consider the finer art of supporting people in driving a strategy for success.

On completion of this module, participants will be able to:

  • Improve awareness of the co-operative difference and its people-centred approach to successful business
  • Define and explain the key role and responsibilities of the chairperson in successfully leading and chairing a board
  • Understand what makes a good chairperson
  • Appreciate how to compose and develop an effective board
  • Understand the importance of director behaviours and how to deal with a disruptive director
  • Plan and run effective board meetings, appreciating the importance of good governance practices
  • Understand the skills and personal qualities most likely to help achieve competence in the role

Workshop Leaders

The sessions will be delivered by SAOS's Head of Co-op Development, Robert Logan, SAOS's Co-op Development Director, Jim Booth and our guest speaker Andy Peddie from Tayforth Machinery Ring. 


Robert Logan

Robert has 18 years producer-extension and consultancy experience having travelled and worked across the UK, Europe, USA, and Australia. He has been with SAOS for some four years and now leads delivery of SAOS’ co-op governance and development services. Our focus being on producer co-operative board governance, training, and member engagement programmes, and to help drive data and sustainability projects. Robert is part of several leadership groups and is currently company secretary for three of our member producer co-operatives. Prior to joining SAOS, he was most recently Senior Business and Livestock Consultant at SAC Consulting, being FAS Animal Health and Welfare delivery lead, and editor and major contributor to technical and business publications. This role also entailed large retailer led and industry stakeholder initiatives, producer group facilitation, benchmarking, business strategy and budgeting.

Jim Booth

As Co-op Development Director, Jim has a wealth of experience working alongside our co-op members and their boards. He delivers SAOS’ governance and consultancy services so sees board practices first hand. He can bring practical examples from co-op and other boards to the workshop. Jim brings over 35-years of consultancy experience of working with farmers both in the UK and Overseas. He has expert knowledge on board governance and the role and importance of an effective chairperson. He is a qualified trainer with many years experience of delivering training to farmers, farmer directors and co-op managers on a range of business topics. He holds an MSc in Supply Chain Management, MBA, and a BSc in Agriculture.

Andy Peddie

Andy hails from the East Neuk of Fife and has lived and worked there all his life.He and his family run a farm at Cornceres with 200ha of combinable crops and also run Silverdyke Park, a diversification project, which has 120 static holiday homes and 31 tourer spaces. He studied at the East of Scotland College of Agriculture leaving with an HND in Agriculture in 1979 and was a keen member of the young farmers movement working his way up through club and regional hierarchies to become national Chairperson of SAYFC in 1989. More recently he rejoined the board of SAYFC becoming Hon President in 2018. He has held positions in a range of agricultural bodies including board positions in NFUS, where he was Chair of the Pig and Poultry Working Group for eight years, and QMS. He served on the board of SAOS for 14 years becoming Chairperson in 2012 and is a board member of Tayforth Machinery Ring having just stepped down as Chairperson. He joined the Board of SRUC in 2020. He has also been Chairperson of his local tourism association and is currently Chair of the local community council and a member of the East Neuk Emergency Planning Team. He was appointed an Associate of the Fellowship of Royal Agricultural Societies in 2017.


SAOS members - £150 + VAT, non-members £200 + VAT


E  allison.watson@saos.coop  M 07548215669