Diary: NFU milks the farming industry to come up with the PR cream

In the good old days the British public loved their farmers, but a recent poll by MORI says we now view them as animal abusing, money-grabbing bumpkins. In response, the National Farmers Union is stepping up its PR effort in an attempt to portray its members as sensitive, cow-loving types.

In the good old days the British public loved their farmers, but a

recent poll by MORI says we now view them as animal abusing,

money-grabbing bumpkins. In response, the National Farmers Union is

stepping up its PR effort in an attempt to portray its members as

sensitive, cow-loving types.



The NFU’s annual conference, to be held at Ardingly, Sussex on November

20, will debate public perceptions of farming and it has lined up top

industry figures to speak. These include the Rockefeller of arable

cultivation Oliver Walston, editor of The Archers Graham Harvey, and the

chairman of the NFU’s public affairs committee Mary James.



Sue Scott, regional public relations officer for the NFU, said: ’The NFU

has not been renowned for its finesse in the past, but is learning to

position itself as a class act with a polished image.’



However the Union may face a hard task convincing the British media that

farming is a modern, principled industry. Recent PR battles over BSE,

farmers pocketing EU cash in return for not bothering to plant crops on

their land and the increasing use of pesticides have all taken their

toll.



As Scott admits: ’Its going to take a few decades to change public

perceptions back toward a positive view of farmers.’



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