THE north Pembrokeshire farmer who heads the UK's largest farming union is to stand down next year.

Meurig Raymond, aged 65, president of the National Farmers Union of England and Wales, has announced his intention of standing down as president at the annual general meeting in February.

He was first elected to represent the Pembroke county branch on the national council of the union in 1995 and served as vice-chairman of the cereals committee between 1999 and 2001 and on the Agricultural Wages Board for six years from 1998.

He was elected as vice-president of the NFU in 2004, became deputy president in 2006 and president in 2014.

Meurig represented Wales on the Home Grown Cereals Authority between 1997 and 2004 and he served on the Council of Food from Britain between 1997and 2003. He became a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society in 2000 and was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours in January 2005 for his services to agriculture.

He farms 3,400 acres in a family partnership in north Pembrokeshire growing 2,200 acres of combinable crops and 300 acres of potatoes. There are 620 dairy cows, with 300 followers.

The farms also carry 600 head of beef cattle and around 2,500 store lambs, fattened during winter.

Married to Hilary, the couple have three grown up children. His elder son, Paul, is involved in the family farming business. Nicola is chief executive officer of South Australia Lucerne Growers in Adelaide and assistant to the director of the Nuffield Foundation in Australia, while younger son, Jonathan, is an investment manager with Quilter Cheviot in London.