Beef farmer Minette Batters has made history by becoming the NFU’s first female president in its 110-year history.
Beef farmer Minette Batters has become the 35th president of the NFU.
Ms Batters was elected by NFU council members at the union’s AGM today (February 21) in Birmingham.
She said: "This is a hugely exciting time and a time of great challenges and great opportunities.
"At the heart of the NFU is its members and I would like the organisation to aim even higher on their behalf.
"British farming is in the spotlight like never before and this is a great opportunity to reposition the sector in the eyes of the nation.”
Ms Batters has risen through the NFU’s ranks over the last few years, holding numerous positions including regional board chairman for the South West and serving as the South West Flood and Coastal Committee.
She co-founded the campaigning initiatives ‘Ladies in Beef’ and the ‘Great British Beef Week’ and has lobbied extensively on key areas including bovine TB, flooding and has been a key advocate for the tenanted sector.
Ms Batters vowed to champion the farming industry, adding it was in a strong position to increase its potential - both at home and abroad.
On the national media interest surrounding Ms Batters being the first woman to head up the organisation, she added: “I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time but many great women have come before me and many will come after me.”
She beat off stiff competition from her challenger, Essex grower Guy Smith, who the council elected as her deputy.
Hertfordshire beef and cereal farmer Stuart Roberts was elected to the top team for the first time and takes the vice president position.
Outgoing NFU president Meurig Raymond, who has served 14 years as an officeholder, described the last few days as an ‘emotional rollercoaster’.
Drawing a standing ovation as the conference closed, Mr Raymond thanked his colleagues and family for the support they had showed him over the years and Lord Plumb, who he said had inspired him to get involved in agricultural politics in 1977.
Another first for @NFUtweets with all three office holders active on @Twitter - @barford100 @essexpeasant @HertsFarmer. Will their late night tweets hit the headlines in @FarmersWeekly and @FarmersGuardian in true @realDonaldTrump style?— George Dunn (@georgewdunn)
A MASSIVE congratulations to our very own Farm Safety Ambassador and #LensLeg pioneer Stuart Roberts @HertsFarmer on your election as Vice President of @NFUtweets - looking forward to driving the #farmsafety agenda forward 💛 pic.twitter.com/2Km7KR3ugP— Yellow Wellies (@yellowwelliesuk)
A MASSIVE congratulations to our very own Farm Safety Ambassador and #LensLeg pioneer Stuart Roberts @HertsFarmer on your election as Vice President of @NFUtweets - looking forward to driving the #farmsafety agenda forward \uD83D\uDC9B pic.twitter.com/2Km7KR3ugP— Yellow Wellies (@yellowwelliesuk) February 21, 2018
After 4 years in the role, Meurig Raymond bid a fond farewell today as President of @nfutweets. We’re now delighted to welcome to the role his successor, Minette Batters. Congratulations on your election @barford100! #NFU18 pic.twitter.com/WG5JMiNcxl— NFU Mutual (@nfum)
Mr Smith said: “It is a great privilege to serve the NFU as an officeholder and I am delighted to be given the opportunity to begin a new role as deputy president.
“To serve as the deputy to Minette is a great honour. Having worked with Minette for the past four years, I am looking forward to working with her and Stuart as a close team in what will be a pivotal two years for British agriculture.”
Mr Roberts said: “I am extremely proud to join the new officeholder team and I am grateful to members for giving me this opportunity. British agriculture is facing both exciting and challenging times, and I am looking forward to offering Minette and Guy my full support for the years ahead.”