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Britain's most powerful farmer says dad would be shocked a woman's leading the NFU

Minette didn't expect to lead the country's biggest farming union. Credit: ITV West Country

Minette Batters is the first female President of the National Farmers' Union in its 111-year history.

This arguably makes her the most powerful farmer in the UK; she is the voice of the union's 55,000 members and helps to shape government agricultural policy.

But her journey to the top of a male-dominated industry was not straightforward. Although Minette runs a 300-acre tenant farm at Downton near Salisbury in Wiltshire, her father had not wanted her to take it over, and tried to put her off farming.

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My father was pretty against women farming really. He was very against me going to agricultural college.

– Minette Batters
Minette had to prove to her father first that she was determined to work in agriculture. Credit: ITV West Country

But Minette persuaded her father's landlords that she was capable of taking the farm on after he retired.

Today it is a thriving business, with an added wedding and catering arm in one of the barns. Minette runs it all largely on her own; her husband works in another industry and her two teenage children are still at school.

But despite her success, people took a while to get used to the idea of a woman farmer.

I can remember a couple of times, people coming here to deliver things, and always me going out to unload it, and them saying, 'Can I speak to the farmer?'. And then I say, 'I am the farmer.' And them saying, 'Well can I speak to the boss?' 'I am the boss.' That's changing.

– Minette Batters
It's the first time the male dominated industry has been led by a woman. Credit: ITV West Country

Today, women make up the majority of students on many agricultural courses. And with a female union leader too, perhaps in future there will be less confusion about who the boss is.