Kendall set to stand down as NFU chief after 8 years
Peter Kendall is standing down as leader of Britain's farmers, after a record term in office.
Often controversial and frequently criticised, he has indicated he will not be standing for re-election as president of the National Farmers' Union (NFU) next year. By then he will have held the post for eight years.
The arable farmer from East Bedfordshire has been a regular visitor to the Westcountry since his election in 2006. Most recently he has been closely involved in the current extended pilot culls of badgers in the campaign against bovine TB in the South West, and the ongoing, and convoluted, negotiations in the EU over the new look for the Common Agricultural Policy.
He has always said he would not seek re-election again. Re-affirming this decision, he said he had seen an enormous change in attitudes to farming throughout his in office.
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"Sir John Beddington's Foresight Report and three global food spikes have meant that agriculture's importance is being increasingly recognised," he said. "And there is still much work to do in many areas. But I shall be leaving the NFU in excellent shape.
"There is a wealth of talent and experience among NFU members and so I look forward to the elections next year when they will select a new officeholder team to continue the NFU's work representing and lobbying on behalf of our farmers and growers.
"To be president of the NFU is a huge privilege and I have been extremely fortunate to be part of a great team, working alongside very able and committed officeholders. I have been supported by the most fantastic, professional staff. The breadth of knowledge, commitment and expertise available to members is unsurpassed in the farming industry – and that has always made me immensely proud."
But Mr Kendall's tenure has at times been a bumpy ride, with his detractors often claiming a new lack of democracy within the union.
Somerset dairy farmer Derek Mead, who unsuccessfully challenged Mr Kendall for the presidency six years ago, said few Westcountry farmers would miss him.
"The Westcountry has been sidelined by the NFU leadership for years and Mr Kendall has done nothing to change that," he said. "Just because we don't always want to dance to the union's tune we are looked on as troublemakers at worst, outsiders at best. The dairy industry is in a worse state now than it was when he arrived, and he has backed a flawed badger cull pilot that is merely going to lead to more delays in getting to grips with TB.
"And meanwhile the voice of the Westcountry is repeatedly drowned out in the meeting rooms at NFU headquarters."
Nominations for the posts of president, deputy president and vice-president have opened and hustings will be held from January 27 onwards.
Mr Kendall's deputy president, Meurig Raymond, a dairy farmer from Wales, is likely to be standing for the top job. But hotly tipped is the current young vice-president, Adam Quinney, from near Redditch in Worcestershire.