Peter Kendall is to step down as president of the National Farmers Union in February, after eight years in the role.
Kendall said he had decided not to stand for re-election at the NFU’s next council elections, as the union this week kicked off the process for electing its three key officer holders – president, deputy president and vice president.
An arable farmer by background, Kendall enjoyed a high media profile since becoming president in 2006 – including during the horsemeat crisis earlier this year – and has been credited with raising public awareness of farming issues.
Reflecting on his time in office, he said attitudes to farming had changed considerably over his tenure. “Sir John Beddington’s ‘Foresight’ report and three global food spikes has meant that agriculture’s importance is being increasingly recognised,” he said. “And there is still much work to do in many areas. I have always planned for this to be my final term in office but I will be leaving the NFU in excellent shape.”
Kendall added: “To be President of the NFU is a huge privilege, and I have been extremely fortunate to be part of a great team at the NFU working alongside very able and committed officeholders. I have been supported by the most fantastic, professional NFU staff. The breadth of knowledge, commitment and expertise available to NFU members is unsurpassed in the farming industry – and that has always made me immensely proud.”
News of Kendall’s imminent departure from the NFU has sparked speculation about his likely next move, but he has declined to say so far if he intends to focus on farming, business, politics or a combination of all three. As for his likely successor, Meurig Raymond – currently deputy president – is being touted as a likely frontrunner in farming circles.
Nominations will be accepted until 15 January, with hustings to be held from 27 January. Kendall will then leave his post at the end of February.