Love of family, farming and friendship were the driving forces that prevailed throughout Ian McLaren’s life.
So it was a fitting tribute that his sons shared in driving the Massey Ferguson tractor that their father regularly used to feed cattle, on his last trip from Cronan to Kettins Church.
He spent the first 50 years of his life at Fintalich Farm, near Crieff, where he farmed in partnership with his cousins Stuart and Jim. He was educated at Morrison’s Academy before attending Edinburgh Agricultural College.
After a romance ignited via Young Farmers, he married Heather Livingston in 1972 and the couple had three sons – John, Michael and Peter.
Ian and Heather moved to Cronan in 1998 and soon after, the original farming partnership was restructured, with Ian and his immediate family moving the business forward and successfully cultivating their livestock and arable businesses.
In addition to his family and business commitments, he has devoted a great deal of time to organizations and activities within the local community and at large. He was an elder at Muthill Parish Church, and an elder and sessional clerk at Kettins Church.
He was a past chairman of Strathearn JAC and was very involved with NFU Scotland, having served as chairman at branch level and facilitator of the National Grains Committee. He also served on the Home Grown Cereals Authority for nine years and was a member of the board of trustees of the Scottish Crop Research Institute in Dundee, now known as the James Hutton Institute.
He was also an avid winter sports enthusiast and a long-time member of the Drummond Castle Curling Club. He served on the Perth Ice Rink board as a director for over 40 years, including seven as chairman. His tenure covered the historic move of the ice rink from Dunkeld Road to Glover Street and the creation of the Dewar’s Center.
A love of curling also brought him to Canada in 2003 on a highly successful tour of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club. He has always been passionate about travel, especially gleaning ideas by seeing with his own eyes the different technologies and innovations used by farmers around the world. He and Heather have made numerous agricultural tours abroad, including Australia, Russia and the United States.
Both on the ranching side and on the arable side of the family business, Ian was very interested in analyzing performance data and continually looking for ways to innovate and improve the farming business. This included a recent major investment in the provision of environmentally friendly energy through the installation of solar panels to provide electricity for cold stores of broccoli and potatoes.
His business acumen was underpinned by his friendly and direct mannerisms as well as his determination and focus – also evident when curling and in conversation. He also shared the McLaren trait of not wasting time walking and a tendency to leave companions who find it difficult to keep up!
Likewise, he was keen on value for money and regularly totaled 250,000 miles on his branded Audi cars. These were often found parked in the broccoli fields and in the wettest years they were sometimes towed!
He enjoyed staying connected to the consumers of his products and regularly found himself in in-depth discussions about the prices of broccoli and potatoes, with the manager of his local supermarket.
Ian was devoted to Heather, immensely proud of his family, and loved spending time with her grandchildren, sister Morag and many cousins, nephews and nieces.
He enjoyed the company of people from all walks of life and listened to the ideas and aspirations of his neighbors, friends and fellow farmers.
In all aspects of life Ian has conducted himself with integrity and combined that with an ironic sense of pleasure, a twinkle in his eyes – which often preceded a few sweet teases – and a determination to look on the bright side.