DIARY: Foreign Press Association awards NFU team

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

calls.



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.



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