Eighteen farmers, including NFU vice president Gwyn Jones, have pleaded not guilty to a charge of employing migrant workers from an unlicensed labour provider.
A plea was not entered by the University of Reading dairy farm during the hearing at Swindon Magistrates court (20 May).
Only 10 of the 19 defendants appeared in the packed coutroom, presided over by district judge Simon Cooper.
Gwyn Jones was one of those who stayed away.
The farms are charged with using the services of Marden Management, a Wiltshire based employment agency.
Marden Management supplied British and overseas agricultural workers to UK dairy farms.
But an investigation by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) found that Marden Management was not licensed as a labour provider.
More to follow …