22 September 2000
Candidates revealed in NFU election

By Donald MacPhail

RADICAL farmers leader Richard Haddock is among at least three candidates who will fight to become the next vice-president of the National Farmers Union.

The Farmers For Action activist, who took a leading role in the recent fuel protests, is being nominated by representatives in his West Country stronghold.

Farmers in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire have also backed Mr Haddock as their choice. But this does not bind their leaders to vote for him.

Protests led by Mr Haddock to highlight the farming crisis mean he is popular with grassroots producers. But he has a prickly relationship with NFU leaders.

Mr Haddock unsuccessfully stood for the deputy-president and vice-president posts earlier this year, and has called for one-member-one-vote in NFU elections.

Both roles are decided by NFU council delegates rather than ordinary union members. But Mr Haddock believes that the system should be changed.

The next vice-president will be chosen by council members at a meeting on 4 October following the sudden death of Richard Watson Jones in July.

The NFU refused to give names of candidates because the circumstances which led to the election mean nominations will stay open until the day of the vote.

However, Farmers Weeklycan reveal that Jonathan Tipples, chairman of the Associated Combinable Crops Scheme, is being nominated by south-east farmers.

Mr Tipples is the NFU director of assured food standards and serves on the Home-Grown Cereals Authority research and development committee.

Leicestershire farmer Rad Thomas, who was runner-up when Mr Watson Jones was elected in February, has also been nominated, Farmers Weekly has learned.

Mr Thomas is the NFU council delegate for Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland. He is also chairman of the Oil, Protein and Fibre Crops Committee.

He chairs the NFU European Commission Advisory Group for Oilseeds and Proteins and is a past county chairman for Leicestershire,

Further candidates could emerge for the post and NFU council members will be able to make nominations from the floor on the day of the election.