The NFU is seeking dairy farmers under the age of 35 who want to influence the union’s policy on the milk sector.

The union is launching a Next Generation Dairy board, open to anyone under the age of 35 who owns, manages, or works on a dairy farm and will meet three times a year at the NFU’s Stoneleigh headquarters and its Westminster and Brussels offices.

Speaking at the launch at the 2008 Dairy Event and Livestock Show, NFU President Peter Kendall said: “It gives me great pleasure to announce our plans for introducing younger farmers to the NFU and involving them in the core of our lobbying and political activity.

“The experience and knowledge of our boards at national, regional and county level is invaluable to the NFU’s political strength and credibility. However, the creation of the Next Generation Dairy Board comes at a time when the average age of a dairy farmer is almost 60 and when many farmers are planning to exit the industry in the next five years.

“We recognise the urgent need to plan for this succession and provide opportunities for young dairy farmers to take an active role in making decisions about their sector.” 

The Next Generation Dairy Board will have eight members (one from each English region and a Welsh representative) and a chairman. The board will take ownership of a number of key dairy policy issues and will have a direct influence on setting national NFU dairy policy.

Mr Kendall added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for enthusiastic and forward thinking dairy farmers to witness first hand the lobbying work of the NFU, and gain a unique insight into the policy making process from the EU to the Houses of Parliament. I believe the launch of our plans today will be welcomed by the dairy industry and that competition for places on the board will be fierce.”

Expressions of interest should be made to NFU Regional Offices, or by contacting Hayley Campbell-Gibbons, NFU Dairy Adviser on 02476 858626