08 October 1998
NFU chiefs back grassroots power move
By FWi staff
FARMERS leaders have backed proposals to radically reform the National Farmers Union (NFU) and put more power into the hands of grassroots members.
An NFU Council meeting in London this afternoon (Thursday) approved in principle plans for sweeping changes to simplify election procedures for union office-holders.
The aim of the reforms is to encourage more grassroots farmers to take part in union activities and increase the influence of those farmers in NFU policy-making.
The move comes after a 10-month study which revealed many members feel the unions hierarchy is out of touch with working farmers.
It is proposed that all future union councillors will be elected by a one-member-one-vote postal ballot of all eligible members.
If approved, the new system will replace the current system where councillors are elected by county executive committees.
The plans will effectively transfer ownership of the NFU to almost 70,000 farming members.
The reform package will be debated further at a special council meeting timetabled for 9 December.