Minette Batters elected as NFU’s first female president

Wiltshire farmer Minette Batters has been elected as the first female president of the NFU.

Mrs Batters, who has held the role of deputy president for the past four years, defeated Essex farmer Guy Smith in a two-way contest for the top job. She succeeds Meurig Raymond, who stood down after four years as president at the NFU conference in Birmingham.

Mr Smith now serve as her deputy for the next two years, after he overcame the challenge of Hertfordshire farmer Stuart Roberts, dairy board chairman Michael Oakes and livestock chairman Charles Sercombe to land the deputy president post.

But Mr Roberts will be a new face in the officeholder team, serving as vice president. He came out top in a five-way contest that also included Mr Sercombe and Mr Oakes, as well as Somerset James Small and Richard Bower, chairman of the NFU’s Next Generation board.

The election took place after the AGM of the NFU Council on the second and final day of the conference.

Ms Batters said: “I am delighted to have been elected as president of the NFU and I am grateful to all the members who have given me the opportunity to lead our industry through Brexit and beyond.

“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.

 Together as a new officeholder team, we will hit the ground running and I look forward to sharing our new vision for farming at the earliest opportunity.”

 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’m 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.”

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.