…to Peter Kendall, the President of the National Farmers’ Union, who has decided not to seek re-election next February.
Farmers Weekly quotes Kendall as saying he isn’t looking for a career in politics – so I expect that’s where he’s heading.
Peter Kendall has been a very popular NFU leader amongst farmers – he has been re-elected three times and the voting system (which is amazingly progressive) doesn’t make that easy for the incumbent. He has undoubtedly been a very able advocate and lobbyist. Thanks to Peter, farmers have had a much better deal than they deserve and the taxpayer and the environment have both lost out.
As the Farmers Weekly puts it ‘Notable successes include helping to stave off a mandatory set-aside replacement that would have forced farmers to take land out of production at a time of rising demand for food. Instead, Mr Kendall helped persuade an initially sceptical Labour government that farmers could be trusted to implement voluntary environmental measures on their land.‘. That is what happened – but farming did not deliver on Kendall’s promises so we should remember that farmers are not to be trusted. That will be part of Kendall’s legacy.
Kendall put farmers on the anti-environmental side of almost every argument: set-aside, neonicotinoids, badgers and bovine TB and biofuels.
Peter Kendall will be with us as the President of the NFU until February and I bet he will be with us for a long time after that too. I can’t imagine that he is going to go back to his combine after the heady days of badgering ministers and badgering badgers. He is, and I mean it, too talented and experienced a person for the farming industry to discard.
Maybe he’ll write a blog? He’ll be very welcome to pen a Guest Blog here.
My article in the current issue of Birdwatch teases apart, and teases, some of Kendall’s and the NFU’s more outrageously anti-environmental statements. I dare say he will be saying outrageous and ridiculous things for the months and years to come. Mark my words, we haven’t seen the last of Peter Kendall.
And yesterday, the new official figures for the Farmland Bird Index (FBI) were issued bringing the sad story of decline up to date. In a generation we have lost half the farmland birds from our countryside. And in recent times, the smoothed UK FBI fell 8% (statistically significantly) in the years between 2006 (the year when Peter Kendall became President of the NFU) and 2011 – thanks a lot Peter!