Farmers for Action boss David Handley is poised to stand for the presidency of the National Farmers’ Union at its AGM in February. Handley, renowned for taking disruptive direct action to highlight plunging farm incomes, this week launched a new pressure group designed to force the NFU to change its leadership and strategy.
Better NFU is jointly chaired by Handley and NFU council member Derek Mead, and is backed by Ecologist magazine editor and environmentalist Zac Goldsmith.
Mead told The Grocer that the current leadership, headed by president Tim Bennett, could avoid political bloodshed if they chose to adopt Better NFU’s manifesto for change. But if they chose to ignore it, their authority would be challenged, with Handley lined up as a possible presidential candidate. Any nominated NFU member can stand for the NFU’s presidency.
Former NFU president Sir Ben Gill said Better NFU was “a waste of time”. But Better NFU insisted it was fast gathering support among farmers disaffected by the NFU’s inability to reverse the decline in incomes.