10 things we learned from NFU conference

This week’s NFU conference was the biggest ever – bringing more than 1,500 delegates to the centre of Birmingham for two days that mixed farming business and pleasure.

We look back at some of our favourite highlights from Twitter below.

See also: New NFU leadership team sets out aims

1. Michael Gove likes the word “shortly”…

The Defra secretary is one of the few key politicians to deliver a keynote speech to NFU conference without making any major announcements. Yes, there were hints about future policies but there was no “Big Reveal” – prompting a wry observation from National Pig Association advisor Ed Barker:

2. … but Mr Gove knows which side his bread is buttered. Despite having little to say of substance, he is a dab hand at making his audience feel warm inside. “Gove is a politician who can face four directions at once,” remarked one conference delegate.

3. Vegan activists prefer to hurl abuse at farmers from a computer keyboard rather than confronting livestock producers face to face and having a reasoned debate.

4. Great British food can be fed to a great many people. More than 1,200 people sat down to a fantastic dinner on the first night of the conference – the most yet at the best-attended NFU conference ever, with 1,500 delegates. But some people still prefer chips.

5. After-dinner speaker, comedian and actor Miles Jupp can do a mean impression of Michael Gove. We were laughing too much to take a photo, but it’s clearly something he’s done before.

6. The Walkabout bar on Broad Street was the place to go after hours – and for some last-minute canvassing ahead of the NFU leadership elections.

7. Farm safety has a bright future. Farmers donned yellow and orange hi-vis jackets to launch a #SeeItChangeIt safety campaign.

8. Statistics can be memorable – and thought-provoking too. We’ve some of the world’s most fertile farmland – and rightly make the most of it.

9. Meurig Raymond will be a much-missed farm leader. You’re nobody these days unless you’ve got your own internet meme – and it didn’t take long for one to appear after Mr Raymond stood down as NFU president following a final heartfelt speech.

10. But the union has a strong team which has already hit the ground running. This conference will be remembered for the leadership election that saw Minette Batters become the NFU’s first female president in the union’s 109-year history – joined by deputy president Guy Smith and vice-president Stuart Roberts. All three are already hard at work, with Ms Batters travelling to Brussels the next day.