NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond has a big decision to make over the coming weeks – whether to launch a leadership bid against union leader Peter Kendall.
But would challenging Mr Kendall be a good idea? I’ll come off the fence straight away and say ‘Yes’ – but only if it fails.
The union’s presidential elections are due to take place next February and Mr Kendall has made it clear he will stand for what would be a fourth term consecutive in office.
Mr Raymond has made no secret of the fact that he himself would one day like to lead the union.
And after a speech to farmers in south-west England, he has secured the backing of the union’s biggest branch.
Devon boasts some 3,000 farmers as NFU members. Together, they contribute in the region of £1m to union coffers.
County members voted on Friday (18 November) to support Mr Raymond should he decide to run for NFU president.
He will now spend the next few weeks gauging support in other counties before deciding whether to stand.
I hope Mr Raymond finds enough support among grassroots farmers and throws his hat into the ring.
He would be a strong challenger and it wouldn’t be good for union democracy if Mr Kendall was re-elected unopposed.
But I also hope Mr Raymond fails to be voted president this time round and continues in his role as Mr Kendall’s deputy.
The Kendall-Raymond partnership that has led the NFU for the past five plus years has been a dream team.
The two men work well together and have achieved much for the union on behalf of the farmerera hey serve.
Mr Kendall projects a modern media-friendly image in contrast to Mr Raymond’s more down-to-earth persona.
It’s tempting to say they are like Tony Blair and John Prescott – one an urbane leader and the other keeping the troops happy – but that would be an unfair comparison.
Even so, I believe English and Welsh agriculture would be all the poorer without Peter Kendall or Meurig Raymond in the roles they are in now.
After all, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?