History of the NFU

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Our history

On December 10 1908, a meeting was held in an ante-room at the Smithfield Show to discuss whether a national organisation should be formed to represent the interests of farmers. The outcome was the National Farmers Union (NFU).

Our first President, Colin Campbell, worked tirelessly to get new branches off the ground, encourage membership and establish the NFU’s credibility with Government, at a time when farming was going through the longest and deepest depression in its history, as imports of cheap grain and frozen meat flooded in from abroad.

From those modest and difficult beginnings, the NFU has grown to become one of the most effective and respected trade associations in Britain.

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Lord Plumb and demonstration_11551

Our 2008 Centenary

We celebrated our Centenary in 2008 - download a timeline of our history here 

100 years of the NFU timeline_58051

One of the many ways we marked the occasion was with the publication of a comprehensive book telling the NFU’s story:

A history of the NFU - book by Guy Smith_58055

From Campbell to Kendall: A History of the NFU, written by NFU member Guy Smith, is a fascinating catalogue of British farming history. Packed with historical pictures, cartoons and NFU President biographies, the hardback book is available through Amazon here.

We also produced a two-part video, narrated by John Craven, which features some fascinating archive footage of British farming and the role the NFU has played in agriculture.

You can view this below or visit our You Tube channel for Part One and Part Two.

Part One - NFU Centenary Video

Part Two - NFU Cententary Video