Lasseter contemplates NFU leadership bid

Dorset farmer Robert Lasseter says he is canvassing views before deciding whether to stand in the NFU’s forthcoming leadership election.

“I have got a vision to offer the union and – if the support is out there – I will stand for election,” he told Farmers Weekly.

A former Dorset NFU county chairman and former regional board chairman, Mr Lasseter has served on the NFU’s ruling council and its governance board.

Although not currently an NFU council member, he is a Nuffield scholar and sits on the NFU national crops board.

Farming 160ha (400 acres) between Weymouth and Dorchester, Mr Lasseter grows combinable crops and has a closed herd of pigs, sold to Tulip under the Freedom Food scheme.

In addition to his farming interests at home, he is an HGCA board director and non-executive director of Wessex Grain.

The three positions of NFU president, deputy president and vice-president are all up for grabs in the NFU leadership election due to take place next February.

The contest is seen as an open race following a decision by NFU president Peter Kendall to step down after eight years at the helm.

Emphasising that he would not run unless he was sure of support, Mr Lasseter said he had not yet decided which of the three positions he might contest.

But he added: “It would be a real privilege to seek a position to continue the work that Peter Kendall has done and have the opportunity to turn my vision into reality.”

Current NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond has confirmed that he will run for president. So too has Essex farmer Guy Smith, who has also been nominated to run for the post of deputy president.

Wiltshire farmer Minette Batters and Yorkshire farmer Rosey Dunn have confirmed they will stand for either the posts of NFU deputy president or vice-president or both.

Lincolnshire farmer Jonathan Brant has confirmed he will run for NFU vice-president.

Other potential candidates are also emerging.

They could include Somerset farmer James Small, who said he would give it “serious consideration” if nominated to run for the post of NFU vice-president.

Current NFU vice-president Adam Quinney has yet to confirm whether he will stand for re-election or try to move up the pecking order by standing for deputy president or president.

Mr Quinney told Farmers Weekly he would announce his decision after Christmas.

All nominations must be received by Wednesday 15 January. The election is due to take place on 26 February 2014 after the NFU annual conference in Birmingham.

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Lincs farmer makes bid for NFU vice-presidency