2 min read

A massive wake up call for the NFU

A massive wake up call for the NFU

The release of Red Tractors Green Farm Commitment (GFC) has created a backlash in the industry.

The NFU's handling of that backlash has created even more controversy. And whilst we all make mistake, it's raised a more important question:

Whose side are the NFU on?


The timeline of events relating to the release of the GFC is important so lets take a look:

  • 29th September - Assured Food Standards considered the GFC module at it’s board meeting on which the NFU have a seat
  • 9th October - Industry publications including the Farmers Weekly and the Farmers Guardian break the news of the GFC and corresponding farmers backlash
  • 9th October - NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw posts on Twitter that the NFU "have not been involved with the development of the module"
  • 12th October - 3 days later the Farmers Guardian publish this article in which the NFU state they "had been robustly challenging the governance behind the development of this module for the past 18 months"
  • 17th October - the NFU announce that, through a resolution, they were concerned about the delivery of the new module which ties in with concerns from other industry bodies such as the National Sheep Association (NSA) and the National Beef Association (NBA)

Confused? So am I.

Either the NFU were involved or they weren’t. But which one is it?

Why weren’t their members consulted and, given the backlash from farmers, why has the Green Farm Commitment been allowed to get to this stage?

Because this latest drama has left many farmers and NFU members questioning just that.

Whose side are you on?

Tom Bradshaw has subsequently come out and said that “We all accept that the roll-out of the GFC hasn’t been as any of us would have wished" and I think we can all agree on that. It should have been handled better.

We all make mistakes and I'm not advocating for the downfall of the NFU or saying we should stage a boycott. We shouldn’t. They are an incredibly important part of our industry.

But this should serve as a massive wake up call for the NFU to remember whose side you’re really on.

You’re loyalty lies first and foremost with that of your members. They pay your wages and keep you in a job. Forget that at your pearl.

All of these industry bodies need to wake up and remember whose side you’re really on. Because we need that willingness to fight for our farmers now more than ever.

Until next week....