Union ornamentals dispute ends

The Horticultural Trades Association and the National Farmers Union patch up differences over Joint Hardy Nursery Stock Committee

The Horticultural Trades Association and the National Farmers’ Union seem to have patched up their differences following the NFU’s abandonment of hardy nursery stock growers last September. However, new NFU chief horticultural adviser Phil Hudson told HW he was unhappy that the HTA ornamental committee said the two organisations had “agreed to consider ways in which the HTA Ornamentals Committee could become the single focus for ornamentals issues”. “There is no suggestion that we are absolving ourselves of responsibility on ornamentals,” he said. At a meeting between the HTA and NFU last month, the groups decided NFU horticultural adviser Kate Edge should join the HTA Ornamentals Committee to “ensure good communications between the two organisations”. However, Hudson did not approve the HTA comment before release. Chairman of the HTA committee Andrew Richardson said: “We have got to have one voice for the industry and a clearly defined direction for the two organisations, and this agreement will take us down that route.” Richardson said the NFU offering Edge as a link between the groups represents a new understanding by the NFU of the HTA’s strengths. Edge has been running the NFU ornamentals desk single-handed while the union underwent a review. With Hudson’s addition, the desk is now at full strength. The groups will meet several times a year and will also jointly underwrite the 2005 Contact conference.

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