Minette Batters is set for a second term as NFU president after other senior officeholders ruled themselves out of running for the union’s top job.
NFU deputy president Guy Smith and vice-president Stuart Roberts both said they would not stand against Mrs Batters when the union holds its biennial leadership elections after its annual conference.
The Wiltshire farmer became the first female president in the union’s 109-year history when she was elected in 2018. Nominations for the next leadership contest – in February 2020 – are starting to come forward as NFU county branches hold their AGMs this autumn.
Mr Smith said he would stand for re-election as NFU deputy president, but would not challenge Mrs Batters for president.
He told Farmers Weekly: “Minette has proven to be a brilliant president and she deserves a second term. I think the team of Minette, Stuart and myself has been effective and well balanced.
“With the politics of Brexit where they are, I think it makes sense for the same team to lead the NFU through the next two years. I would relish that possibility, given the chance.”
Mr Roberts said he would stand for re-election as vice-president and had also accepted a nomination to run for deputy.
Other candidates could also emerge over the coming months. They include Essex farmer Tom Bradshaw, who has accepted two nominations to run for vice-president. Mr Bradshaw currently chairs the NFU combinable crops board.
Securing a fair deal for farmers after Brexit will be a key issue during the NFU election campaign. The time was right for the younger generation to come through and drive things forward as the industry’s future is decided, said Mr Bradshaw.