National Farmers' Union of England and Wales

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NFU logo which was launched in 2009.jpg
Full name National Farmers' Union
Founded 1908
Members 55,000 Farmer and Grower members, 34,000 Countryside members
Key people Officeholders: Meurig Raymond MBE, President; Minette Batters, Deputy President; Guy Smith, Vice President (Terms of office run from Feb 2016 - Feb 2018); Martin Haworth, Acting Director General.
Office location Agriculture House, Stoneleigh Park, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, England, CV8 2TZ
Country England and Wales

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) is a member organisation/industry association for farmers in England and Wales. It is the largest farmers' organisation in England and Wales, and has over 300 branch offices.


On 10 December 1908, a meeting was held in an ante-room at the Smithfield Show to discuss whether a national organisation should be formed to represent the interests of farmers. The outcome was the National Farmers' Union (NFU).

The first President, Colin Campbell, worked tirelessly to get new branches off the ground, encourage membership and establish the NFU’s credibility with Government, at a time when farming was going through the longest and deepest depression in its history, as imports of cheap grain and frozen meat flooded in from abroad.

At the 1918 general election, the union ran six candidates, none of whom were elected. In 1922, it sponsored three unsuccessful candidates under its own name, and four successful Conservative Party candidates. It again sponsored Conservative candidates in 1923 and 1935, but has not done so since.[1]

The organisation celebrated its Centenary in 2008.[2]

The NFU is registered as an association of employers under the 1974 Trade Union and Labour Relations Act. In 2000 it founded Assured Food Standards who administers the Red Tractor Scheme.

Election results[edit]

1918 general election[edit]

Constituency Candidate Votes  % Position[1]
Barnard Castle Monkhouse, OctaviusOctavius Monkhouse 1,274 10.0
East Norfolk Taylor, William BenjaminWilliam Benjamin Taylor 1,926 12.3 3
Hertford Barnard, Edmond BroughtonEdmond Broughton Barnard 7,158 38.8 2
Leominster Langford, Ernest WilfredErnest Wilfred Langford 2,870 17.4 3
Ormskirk Hirst, StephenStephen Hirst 4,989 28.3 3
Richmond (Yorkshire) Parlour, WilliamWilliam Parlour 4,907 33.2 2

Barnard was also sponsored by the National Party.

1922 general election[edit]

Constituency Candidate Votes  % Position[1]
Carmarthen Johns, DanielDaniel Johns 4,775 15.9 3
Howdenshire Winn, H. J.H. J. Winn 7,021 39.5 2
Leominster Shepperson, ErnestErnest Shepperson 10,798 53.1 1
Ormskirk Blundell, FrancisFrancis Blundell 11,921 58.7 1
Rutland and Stamford Clark, E.E. Clark 4,471 20.3 3
Stone Lamb, JosephJoseph Lamb 1
Wells Bruford, RobertRobert Bruford 10,210 47.7 1

Blundell, Bruford, Lamb and Shepperson stood for the Conservative Party.

1923 general election[edit]

Constituency Candidate Votes  % Position[1]
Leominster Shepperson, ErnestErnest Shepperson 11,582 57.3 1
Ormskirk Blundell, FrancisFrancis Blundell 10,598 53.0 1
Stone Lamb, JosephJoseph Lamb 10,001 50.8 1
Wells Bruford, RobertRobert Bruford 9,909 44.2 2

All candidates stood for the Conservative Party.

1924 general election[edit]

Constituency Candidate Votes  % Position[1]
Leominster Shepperson, ErnestErnest Shepperson 13,237 52.5 1
Stone Lamb, JosephJoseph Lamb 1

Both candidates stood for the Conservative Party.

1935 general election[edit]

Two candidates were sponsored and elected for the Conservative Party.


There are several tiers of NFU membership:

  • Farmer and Grower: The NFU is the only organisation that champions all farmers and growers in England and Wales. We’re here to give you a voice and protect your way of life now and in the future. Our strength is in our numbers. With over 50,000 farmer and grower members, we are heard when it counts – locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Countryside: NFU Countryside is a membership that celebrates the British countryside from great food, stunning wildlife and places to visit, to what to do with your garden or veg patch, and how to get the most from your equine and canine companions.
  • NFU Pro: If you are a professional working in agriculture whether in a legal, technical, financial, veterinary or any other capacity, becoming a member of NFU Pro helps you enhance the service you offer your customers.
  • Student: NFU Student is a free membership category for anyone studying a full or part-time agricultural, horticultural, land-based or related course at university or college.
  • YFC: The NFU and the Young Farmers Club share the vision of a bright future for farming, and realise the need to support and develop the next generation of farmers.


Known as 'The Voice of British Farming', the NFU states that it "champions British farming and provides professional representation and services to its Farmer and Grower members."[3]

It negotiates with the government and national organisations on behalf of English and Welsh farmers. The NFU's Back British Farming campaign highlights hundreds of reasons why farming deserves public support.


The NFU is governed by its Constitution and Rules. Under the Constitution and Rules the NFU shall maintain a number of bodies, which are responsible for the Governance of the NFU. These include NFU Council, Governance Board, Policy Board, National Commodity Boards, Regional Commodity Boards, an Audit and Remuneration Committee and Legal Board and Regional Boards.[4]

The NFU has an office in Brussels, Belgium to represent the interests of British farmers to the European Union.

The NFU is closely associated with the insurance mutual company NFU Mutual, which is also based in Warwickshire.

NFU Cymru is based at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells.


The archives of the NFU are deposited with the Rural History Centre at Reading University.[5]


The NFU has been described by Ethical Consumer as "The English Agribusiness Lobby Group"[6] reflecting concerns that the organisation focuses too strongly on promoting the interests of larger, strongly profit-maximising "agribusinesses" rather than those of smaller farmers. Guy Watson of Riverford Organics, wrote "I don’t feel represented by the NFU. In fact I find myself increasingly alienated by their self-righteous lobbying for the short term interests of a small number of largescale farmers. This especially applies to their resistance to any representation of the interests of the tax payers who prop up their industry; to even the tamest environmental regulation; to public access to land; and to any redirection of farming subsidies to encourage younger, smaller scale entrants to the industry."[7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Craig, F. W. S. (1975). Minor Parties in British By-elections, 1885-1974. London: Macmillan Press. p. 56. 
  2. ^ "History of the NFU". NFUonline. NFU. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "About Us". NFU. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "NFU Democratic Structure". NFUonline. NFU. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Chris Cook, The Routledge Guide to British Political Archives: Sources Since 1945 (Routledge: 2006), p. 345.
  6. ^
  7. ^

External links[edit]