meurig raymond nfu

NFU president Meurig Raymond may have to fight for a second term in office after deputy president Minette Batters and vice president Guy Smith were nominated as candidates for the top job.

Bi-annual elections for the three main NFU office-holder positions will take place on 24 February, with nominations closing on 15 January.

To date, Batters and Smith have been nominated by NFU members for both the top job and for re-election to their existing posts. However, Batters was tightlipped on whether she would challenge Raymond when approached by The Grocer this week, while Smith said he would announce his intentions in the new year.

Batters became the first woman to be elected to the NFU’s top table when she became deputy president in 2014, while Smith was also nominated for the presidency in 2013 before standing aside and eventually being elected vice president.

Both were described as “ambitious” by an industry source close to the NFU this week, who also noted it would be “unusual” for an incumbent president to be challenged so soon into his tenure. “I would expect a challenge against a sitting president to come at the end of their second term rather than the first,” added the source, who suggested the deputy and vice president should “concentrate on policy issues rather than unseating the president”.

Raymond was “well-liked by the grass roots”, the source said.

The Pembrokeshire dairy farmer confirmed last week he would stand for a second term of two years as NFU president, and welcomed any challenge. He succeeded Peter Kendall as president in 2014, and held the post of deputy president throughout Kendall’s eight-year term.

Batters said she would decide whether to run for president after Christmas.