Handley to challenge Bennett in NFU vote

Farmers For Action leader David Handley is expected to announce next week that he intends to challenge Tim Bennett for the position of NFU president.

Mr Handley, chairman of FFA since it was founded in May 2000, has confirmed to Farmers Weekly that he will run for the post, if his name is put forward.

Elections are due to take place at the NFU conference, planned for 27-28 February in Birmingham.

“I’ve always said that the NFU is an organisation which at its core is good. It just lacks leadership and communication,” said Mr Handley.

“The NFU was set up for the benefit of all farmers and not just the elite few, but I think it has lost that connection. I can communicate with the grass roots membership.”

Mr Handley, who is a union member, is expected to make his announcement on Monday (12 December) at the launch of a new organisation called Better NFU.

The group is being led by Mr Handley, Somerset dairy farmer and NFU Council member Derek Mead, and millionaire organic farmer and environmentalist Zac Goldsmith.

They have suggested that there are key issues that need addressing by the union.

These are giving farmers a bigger voice, the provision of food that consumers want, standing up to supermarket power and giving producers a real future.

Mr Handley said he knew he would not get elected, as the president is chosen by the union’s ruling council, rather than the whole membership.

But he said he felt by entering the presidential race he could encourage the NFU to be more proactive.

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