Former DEFRA minister Jeff Rooker has been elected as the new president of the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers.

Lord Rooker succeeds Baroness Hazel Byford, who stepped down after two years in the post and was elected as an Association vice president.

A popular figure in the farming industry, Lord Rooker stepped down as minister for sustainable food and farming and animal health last October.

Renowned for being straight-talking about issues such as bovine TB, he said he planned to use his term of office to achieve a fairer return for dairy farmers.

“I will do whatever I can to reverse the downward trend in milk production which is of real concern,” he added.

Nick Everington, RABDF chief executive, said the society was looking forward to Lord Rooker’s input.

“His keen interest in the dairy sector combined with enthusiasm for grass roots farming and keen interest in current issues impacting on dairy producers’ livelihoods will help drive forward the organisation strategically and benefit all farming businesses.

“Farmers will have the opportunity to meet and talk with him at the forthcoming Dairy Event and Livestock Show on 16 and 17 September,” he added.