Farming Matters: New farming head for 2014

Heather Jan Brunt - Farming Matters
Heather Jan Brunt - Farming Matters

Peter Kendall, president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) has announced his intention to stand down in February after eight years at the helm of the organisation.

The Bedfordshire arable farmer has been the public face of agriculture in this country, representing thousands of farmers and their interests in the media, before government and at meetings across the land.

The general concensus is that he has been a good president.

He is articulate and understands the importance of promoting farmers’ interests, whilst at the same time also promoting the face of farming to the wider population - something not all farmers are naturally good at, nor find easy.

His goal from the start, he said, was to promote farming in a positive light, as part of the solution to domestic and global food and environmental problems, rather than part of the problem.

Mr Kendall has presided over some key industry events, including the 2007 foot-and-mouth and bluetongue outbreaks, reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, last year’s SOS Dairy campaign and the recent badger cull pilots.

Now the race is on to find someone to replace him who will represent those interests as well or even better.

Mr Kendall’s deputy of the past eight years, Meurig Raymond, is likely to start as the front-runner, with vice president Adam Quinney another possible contender.

The elections for the three main NFU officeholder positions will take place on the second day of the NFU 2014 annual conference, in Birmingham, on February 26.