The work of the National Farmers’ Union/Horticultural Trades Association’s Joint Hardy Nursery Stock Committee is likely to be taken over by the HTA ornamentals committee.
Ornamentals committee chairman and former JHNSC member Andrew Richardson said the HTA was “definitely going to take over a lot of the work of the JHNSC”. He added: “The HTA’s contact with the Government is every bit as good as, if not better than, the NFU’s.”
He said many former JHNSC members were concerned about what the NFU has to offer. “I pay membership to the NFU and HTA and I don’t see what great benefit I’m getting from the NFU.”
NFU horticulture board chairman Graham Ward defended his union’s cost-cutting abolition of the JHNSC this week, saying it will be replaced by an e-mail group and regional committees.
Ward said: “NFU growers have not been left high and dry. They will be able to express their views exactly as they have in the past. Views on issues affecting them will be much easier to express because the e-mail group will explore all the issues. People interested will have the ability to sway policy.”
Ward said the old committee system was uneconomical, poorly attended and often short of time. He added that growers would use regional offices, to be set up in Yorkshire, West and East Midlands and the South East, with more to come.
He said: “One of the great problems of horticulture is that there’s lots of little interest groups.
“We’ve got to make broad-brush decisions. The Government doesn’t want three different people going to them with their views. If growers only want to look at their short-term business requirements, I can’t persuade them any other way.”
When his current commitment ends in January, NFU chief dairy adviser Philip Hudson will replace NFU chief horticultural adviser David Brown, who is taking voluntary redundancy.
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