Such was the damage inflicted on UK farmers by foot-and-mouth, that
it is hard to imagine the players winning any awards for their PR.
Unless, that is, the criteria are as slender as their ability to return
MAFF in particular was unlikely to pick up plaudits for its handling of
image issues - so tarnished was the MAFF brand, it was broken up and
remade as DEFRA in June.
But the National Farmers' Union last week picked up the Foreign Press
Association's Press Office of the Year award for the 'efficient and
helpful' work of its four-strong press team.
Taking the shine off the NFU's win was FPA president Tine van Houts.
In the commendation, she praised the NFU's ability simply to return
calls and arrange interviews.
Another reason, Diary suspects, is the courtesy with which the NFU
handled enquiries from the FPA's 700 members - often given short shrift
elsewhere in favour of UK-based media. 'That was certainly a factor,'
says an NFU source.