England has a chance to see its first ever female NFU president after deputy president, Minette Batters, confirmed that she would stand against current president, Meurig Raymond, when the union holds what looks set to be hotly contested national AGM next month.
Batters, who gave the key-note speech at this week’s Semex conference in Glasgow, has served two years as deputy president and yesterday said she would also stand for re-election to her current post if she is unsuccessful in her bid for the top position.
Raymond, who will stand for a second two-year term, welcomed the move, stating that having keen participation was good for the “union and good for the industry”.
Meanwhile, vice-president Guy Smith said that although he was not putting himself forward for election as president, he would stand for the post of deputy president and re-election to his current post.
The race for the leadership of the union could still, however, prove to be a three-horse one, with Cumbrian farmer and former livestock committee chairman, Alistair Mackintosh, also reported to be considering throwing his hat into the ring.
And, ahead of today’s closure for nominations, it looked likely that there would be seven names forward for the three top positions with a further three candidates putting their names forward for the vice-president position.
In contrast, NFU Scotland’s AGM, also next month, is likely to see less in the way of late-night wheeling and dealing – with the top team of president Allan Bowie and two vice-presidents, Rob Livesey and Andrew McCornick, all being unchallenged.