Former NFU president Sir David Naish has died, aged 78.
Sir David, born in Nottinghamshire, led the organisation between 1991 and 1998, in one of the most difficult eras for UK farming - the BSE crisis.
Paying tribute, NFU president Minette Batters said: “Those who worked with Sir David during his time as NFU president have described him as a very kind and considerate giant in the farming industry, well respected, always credible, with a warm sense of humour who always had time to listen.
“In particular, British farmers owe a debt of gratitude to the leadership he gave to the British farming industry in one of its most challenging eras of the BSE crisis.
“Sir David led from the front and played a crucial role in supporting British farmers while working with the highest levels in Government to introduce measures to restore public confidence, including the Over Thirty Months scheme.
“While the scheme was not universally popular with farmers at the time, it played a crucial role in limiting the damage to the British beef industry at that time and is something the industry should be eternally grateful for.”
Sir David was well respected internationally and was admired for his political skills, which he developed during his career in local politics as a councillor.
During his time as NFU president he also became president of COPA, the pan-EU farmer representative body, giving the NFU an influential position in Brussels.
Very sad to hear about the passing of Sir David Naish, NFU President in the nineties. A warm, compassionate man and a good farmer. When the BSE crisis hit our industry, we needed cool headed but strong leadership. He was that leader. RIP pic.twitter.com/0RWpwUk0U3— Guy Smith (@essexpeasant)
Very sad to hear about the passing of Sir David Naish, NFU President in the nineties. A warm, compassionate man and a good farmer. When the BSE crisis hit our industry, we needed cool headed but strong leadership. He was that leader. RIP pic.twitter.com/0RWpwUk0U3— Guy Smith (@essexpeasant) March 28, 2019
He was also a relatively regular visitor to the United States and was highly respected by the US farming organisations and the US Government.
He was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society in 1986 and held the office of Deputy Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire in 1991. He was knighted for services to agriculture in the 1994 Queen’s Birthday Honours.