A recent poll on the NFU website which asked a mildly controversial question received one of the biggest responses the NFU has enjoyed, but in a slightly biased direction.

In a sincere attempt to garner opinion on the role of the Red Tractor and whether the industry should use the opportunity presented by the re-organisation of the levy boards to make greater use of the assurance scheme the NFU asked whether “the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board should support the Red Tractor”.

Past polls have averaged about 200 responses, but this one raised a few eyebrows at Stoneleigh with more than five times that number taking part.

Of the 1035 votes cast 24% said yes and 76% said no.

However, investigations revealed that 600 votes originated from the same location – the MLC – and that the votes were cast in batches, rather than singly, and were all against. 

If you consider the 600 votes as a single vote than the result is very different with 234 in favour of AHDB supporting the red tractor, 184 against.

In response to the revelation the MLC issued the following comment: “The NFU has raised with us the issue of block votes coming from the MLC/EBLEX computer server.

“The IT experts in MLC and NFU are currently undertaking a forensic examination of the computer systems to establish whether it was an IT glitch racking up multiple votes when single votes were cast, or if there was something more malicious behind it.

“However, early indications are that only a small number of votes originated from individuals in EBLEX.”