According to its website, the NFU (National Farmers Union) has around 55,000 members. So that, given there are around 136,000 farmers in the UK, we can safely say that the majority of farmers are not in the NFU at all.
I’ve known a lot of farmers in my time – many have refused to join the NFU and those that have have joined to get benefits like cheaper insurance deals rather than agreeing with its political stance. Few farmers I’ve known have had a good word to say about the NFU.
Similarly, the CLA (Country Land and Business Association), has around 30,000 members, many of them owners of vast estates, rather than the average country-dweller with just a few acres or less.
So, when these highly-politicised organisations threaten to attack the principle of our public highway rights of way network, just remember they don’t speak on behalf of the average farmer or country-dweller at all. The majority of whom don’t mind having walkers and riders around.
Their membership numbers are overwhelmed by the millions of Britons who use our public rights of way as they enjoy the delights of the countryside and contribute financially to hard-pressed rural economies.