sir david naish

Source: NFU

Naish was knighted for services to agriculture in 1994

Tributes are pouring in for former NFU president Sir David Naish, who has died aged 78.

Naish was president of the NFU from 1991 to 1998, following a family tradition that had seen his uncle head the farming union from 1945 to 1960.

Through his tenure, Naish also became president of pan-EU farmer representative body COPA, before going on to become chairman of dairy giant Arla’s UK business.

During his time with the dairy co-op in the mid-2000s, he oversaw the merger between Arla Foods UK and Express Dairies. He later took on a host of roles, lending his expertise in the food and farming sectors first as chairman of meat processor Hilton Food Group, then on the board of Greenvale and Jersey Royal Potato Company owner Produce Investments.

He was knighted for services to agriculture in the 1994 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Incumbent NFU president Minette Batters paid tribute to Naish for steering the beef industry through the tumultuous period surrounding the BSE outbreak, praising him for limiting the damage to the British beef industry.

“Sir David was well known and highly respected both nationally and internationally for his knowledge, integrity and commitment to British farming,” she said.

“Those who worked with him during his time as NFU president have described him as a very kind and considerate giant in the farming industry, well respected, always credible, with a warm sense of humour, who always had time to listen.”