The NFU has announced a number of staff appointments in response to its plans to create a specialist Brexit department to represent farmers’ views during the UK’s exit from the EU.
The union has also re-shaped its London operations and announced new roles within its External Affairs function, which include dealing with the government and parliamentary lobbying.
Nick von Westenholz has been named as the NFU’s director of EU exit and international trade, re-joining the union as a spell as chief executive at the Crop Protection Association, while Olivia Seccombe joins the NFU as head of external affairs, having previously held the same title at Dairy Crest.
“There are considerable challenges facing farming but agriculture has a good story to tell with strong public support,” said Mr von Westenholz, who is a former head of government affairs at the NFU.
“With the triggering of article 50 due in the next couple of months it is absolutely vital that farming’s voice continues to be heard to ensure the sector has a productive, competitive and resilient future outside the EU.”
Miss Seccombe has previously worked in the offices of several MPs, including Theresa May.
“This is a critically important time for farming with the future repatriation of agricultural policy to Westminster and it is absolutely vital that the NFU has broad cross-party as well as government support for the importance of the farming industry,” she said.
Two other recruits to the external affairs team are managers, Rocky Lorusso and Fay Jones.
Mr Lorusso, who joins from EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, will become head of government affairs, while Ms Jones, joins the team from her current post as European parliamentary and communications adviser for the UK farming unions in Brussels.
Headline images shows (left to right) Nick von Westenholz, Olivia Seccombe, Rocky Lorusso and Fay Jones