Essex farmer who served as deputy president of NFU ‘philosophical’ as vote goes against him

Guy Smith addresses the NFU conference 2020 Picture: SIMON HADLEY

Guy Smith addresses the NFU conference 2020 Picture: SIMON HADLEY - Credit: Simon Hadley

An Essex arable farmer who served for six years in top roles at the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said he had “no regrets” as he lost his bid to continue as deputy president.

New postholders Essex farmer Tom Bradshaw, now vice president, and Stuart Roberts, now deputy, flank

New postholders Essex farmer Tom Bradshaw, now vice president, and Stuart Roberts, now deputy, flanking NFU president Minette Batters Picture: SIMON HADLEY - Credit: Simon Hadley

Guy Smith, who farms at St Osyth, near Clacton-on-Sea, had been deputy for two years and vice president for four and said he had enjoyed his time at the top.

Stuart Roberts - who was vice president - was elevated to deputy, and another Essex arable farmer, Tom Bradshaw - who farms at Fordham, near Colchester - was voted in as vice president at the NFU conference. Minette Batters was re-elected unopposed as president.

MORE - Brexit and how farmers can survive it: how the next 11 months will shape the sectorMr Smith praised fellow Essex farmer Tom as a "bright young man and well regarded".

"That's the way the cookie crumbles," he said of the result.

"This day was always in front of me. I will stay philosophical and won't be bored."

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Mr Smith, who has performed roles at the NFU for 18 years, admitted "life's going to be very different" following years of travelling the country and meeting farmers to hear their concerns.

"No regrets, and the NFU's a great organisation to work for," he said. "You count your blessings."

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The keen writer, who has written a history of the NFU in Essex, said he thought he had a chance to win the vote at conference but it wasn't to be. However, he has always been a proponent of elections for the top roles.

"I'm proud of what I have done," he added. "I have had a great time. The NFU is a great organisation. With a democracy you have to take the rough with the smooth and good luck to Tom - he's another Essex boy."

The election, by a body made up of elected NFU members, followed the NFU annual conference in Birmingham.

Ms Batters, said: "I would like to welcome Tom into the team and I look forward to working with him and Stuart to help the British farming sector fulfil its potential as a world leader in quality food production. I would also like to pay tribute and personally thank Guy for his incredible service over the past six years representing our members as vice and deputy president."

Mr Roberts thanked members for their support, while Mr Bradshaw said he was "delighted" to be joining the NFU officeholder team.

"I look forward to working with Minette and Stuart to build a thriving food and farming landscape serving generations to come," he said.

He added: "I'd like to pay tribute to everything that Guy Smith has achieved over the past 18 years for the NFU. He has worked tirelessly for members and for the benefit of our food and farming industry."

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