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St Osyth: Farmer Guy Smith throws hat in ring for presidency of National Farmers’ Union

PUBLISHED: 15:22 13 November 2013 | UPDATED: 15:22 13 November 2013

St Osyth Farmer Guy Smith has put his name forward for the NFU presidency

St Osyth Farmer Guy Smith has put his name forward for the NFU presidency

Archant

An Essex farmer has thrown his hat in the ring for the presidency of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

Guy Smith of St Osyth is set to challenge Welshman Meurig Raymond, who is currently deputy president, for the top spot when Peter Kendall steps down next year.

Mr Smith, who has been NFU county delegate for the past 10 years and chairman of the communications committee for eight, accepted a nomination by his county branch on Monday.

He is the first candidate to confirm he will stand against Mr Raymond, who announced last month he would run for president after eight years as deputy.

Mr Smith pointed out that the last few elections had been one candidate affairs, and said he was keen for the NFU to use elections to discuss policy.

“I’m very proud to have been nominated by my county for the positions of NFU president and deputy president,” he said.

“In running for the Presidency my first concern is to ensure there is more than one candidate for the post. Meurig Raymond is an old friend but I suspect he would agree that ‘one candidate’ elections do not make for good democracy. Office holder elections should be times of keen policy discussion within the NFU and you don’t get that with North Korean style single candidate ballots. I want to make sure people have choice. The presidency of the NFU is a very important role that should be decided by contest not through ‘ buggins turn’. If putting my hat in the ring encourages others to do the same then even better.

“Having said that I’m keen to give both posts my best shot. If I had one urgent and immediate policy goal it would simply to make sure we ask the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) at every turn ‘ what impact would this proposal have on UK farm production?’. It is a question that is not asked enough and it is how we have sleep walked into declining food security in this country over the last 30 years.”

Mr Smith, 54, whose children are aged 17, 21 and 23, said he was in a position where he could afford to devote the time to the job.

The presidency was “most ambitious thing” that farmers aspired to, he said.

“I’ll give this my best shot and I’m confident I can do the job,” he added.

A toddler has been rushed to hospital after a serious crash in Barningham this morning.

Police are appealing for witnesses after three women had their purses stolen from supermarkets in the Ipswich and Martlesham areas on Tuesday.

Callum Connolly and Dominic Iorfa visited East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices shop in Ipswich today to help launch the Bag It, Bring It Boost It campaign.

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner is proposing an increase in the force’s council tax precept of 6.8% – which will add an average of £12 a year to the overall council tax bill of each household in the county.

The resignation of the region’s ambulance trust’s medical director has been announced just a day after it was alleged 20 people died waiting for help whilst the service was stretched.

Paramedics treated two women for minor injuries after a crash in west Suffolk this morning.

A landlord who had tenants living in an overcrowded Tiptree flat with mould and poor sanitation has been ordered to pay more than £10,000.

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