The new president of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has warned that it is a “challenging time” for agriculture in England and Wales, but also a time of great opportunity.

Tom Bradshaw, an arable farmer from Essex, who has taken over the role from Minette Batters, has also urged all political parties to “put a plan in place for home-grown food”.

Bradshaw added: “Profitable production, and the stability and clarity which allows NFU members to plan for and reinvest in their farming and growing businesses will always be my priority.

“This sits at the heart of delivering sustainable, high-quality and high-welfare food for our country.”

The new NFU president who farms in partnership with his wife, Emily, and his parents in north Essex has said he wants to focus on “forging ever-closer connections with NFU members on the ground” during his term.

Bradshaw, whose home farm is based around arable production, also operates a larger contract farming business growing a range of combinable crops across 950ha in north east Essex.

“We are in a challenging time for agriculture in England and Wales, but it’s also a time of great opportunity, and the NFU will be at the heart of delivering results for our members,” he pledged.

NFU officeholder team

Bradshaw will be supported in his new role by David Exwood, the NFU’s new deputy president and Rachel Hallos, who has been elected as vice president.

Exwood highlighted that with a general election potentially around the corner the next two years will be crucial for the future of British agriculture – particularly as it transitions away from direct payments.

“In an uncertain business environment, it is essential that farmers are recognised by all political parties for the climate-friendly food they produce, economic contribution they make to rural communities and their role as caretakers of the countryside,” he said.

Meanwhile the NFU’s new vice president has also warned of the challenge that farmers face “on the front line of climate change”.

Hallos said: “It is essential that profitability is built back into the sector, so we are able to invest in resilient businesses that are able to continue producing nutritious food for the nation.”