UK Farming champion’s vision of the future

UK - The newly-elected president of the National Farmers' Union prepares to launch a new strategy on Monday.

Peter Kendall is a man with a mission. He had only been in post as president of the National Farmers' Union for just over 170 hours when he arrived in Norfolk to fulfil a long-standing engagement to talk to members of the Norwich and Loddon branch.

His enthusiasm for his new post is infectious as he outlines his determination to champion the farming industry. At just 45, he is one of the younger hands at the helm of the NFU and he also has a young family, with three children under six.

So when he talks of a new direction for food production and the environment, he really means it. “I think we need to make a strong case for championing what farming does,” said Mr Kendall, who is an arable farmer on the border with Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

He is the first arable farmer to lead the NFU in its 98-year history, which has raised some eyebrows. But, he does have a good team around him including a respected south Wales dairy and arable farmer, Meurig Raymond, and the new vice-president, East Yorkshire farmer Paul Temple.

Mr Kendall, who farms around 1500 arable acres with his brother Richard, really knows how to thump home his message. And how to lead. When he strode into the room, almost without thinking, he took over his jacket and unselfconsciously started rolling up his shirt sleeves. It might become a trademark but he means business although he has only been in the senior ranks of the NFU for two years.

“We must explain why we such a benefit to society and why we are a benefit to the country. Too often, we get a reputation for whingeing the whole time. We must get off the fence and start shouting and championing why British farming is important.

“Every year there are another 77 million more people on the plant and when you look at climate change implications. I'm talking to more and more environmentalists who are starting to believe that farming is important.

“We are almost on a tipping point where we can go out and try and get people to realise that what we're doing to farming at the moment is nonsensical.

“We need to get pro-active and make a really strong case that we do have high animal welfare standards. We do have a good environmental track record and we do look after the fantastic English countryside. We must make that case stronger than ever.”

Source: The Business EDP 24
calendar icon 12 March 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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