As our 2015/16 membership year drew to a close, I was pleased to be able to report, in our South Holland branch newsletter, another year of growth in both membership and subscription income resulting in us remaining the largest branch in the NFU East Midlands region, writes group secretary Andrew Cross.
Our thanks go to all our loyal members, old and new.
The end of 2016 sees the retirement of two stalwarts of the South Holland branch with Steve Barber and Diane Hunt retiring from their positions as NFU group secretaries with 35 years and 28 years service respectively. It was fitting therefore that we were able to welcome NFU president Meurig Raymond on November 14 when he joined us for both our branch AGM and an evening reception to mark this occasion.
We were delighted that the president joined our branch chairman, Stafford Proctor, in presenting gifts to both Steve and Diane before giving his keynote speech to an audience of over 200 branch members who had gathered for the occasion.
During his speech, the president focused on key issues including the formulation of an effective British Agricultural Policy, access to a tariff-free single market and the importance of retaining access to competent labour post-Brexit. He also outlined the continued work of the NFU around ensuring access to crop protection products and tackling rural crime.
While Steve and Diane’s retirement marks the end of an era, the branch continues to work on behalf of its members and, to this end, we will shortly be appointing a further group secretary to assist Phil Ingleby and myself.
This time of year always sees a packed diary and we look forward to welcoming friends, colleagues, clients and members to our NFU ball at Springfields for what promises to be a great night.