Nick Major looking back on 3 years FEFAC Presidency

22 June 2020
Nick Major

The 3rd of June Nick Major, ForFarmers' Director Corporate Affairs, retired as president of the FEFAC. Asbjørn Børsting succeeds Nick Major, who is transferring the gavel after his current three-year term. We asked Nick about his FEFAC-experience, his challenges and achievements in the past three years and his learnings. 

Looking back, what have been your challenges in your term?

"The challenges are reaching a consensus amongst 22 Members Associations representing the interests of 22 member states. This has been part of the role I have enjoyed most, firstly listening to everyones views and then working out where the common ground might be. Spending time bringing people along with you can be very rewarding when you get the outcome you were hoping for.

The other challenge is that in a political environment, you don’t always get the result you were hoping for, particularly in the current era of populism. The traditional approach taken by Trade Associations such as FEFAC is to prepare and present the facts and evidence. However that can now be outweighed by a social media campaign or petition attracting a large number of signatures."

What do you consider the major achievements the past 3 years?

"It’s hard not to start with how the whole industry has responded to the COVID-19 crisis. Thanks to the heroic efforts of everyone in the feed industry we have played our part in ensuring that a health emergency was not made even worse by a food crisis. Critics have made a career out of telling everyone that the food system in Europe is either broken or fragile. But when faced by the biggest challenge for many generations, the feed and food supply industry proved to be remarkable resilient. FEFAC played its role through regular dialogue with the European Commission particularly in ensuring continuity of raw material supplies across borders.

More broadly, sustainability is now even higher on the agenda than it was 3 years ago. In September FEFAC will launch a Sustainability Charter to be signed by all Member Associations. The Responsible Soy declaration, which was launched last year, commits companies to source 100% responsible soy by 2025 and has now been signed by over 250 organisations. 

I hope I have helped to raise the industry’s profile with the European Commission and other stakeholders by setting out how the feed industry can help meet the great challenges of our time such as climate change."

Why is it important for ForFarmers to have someone in these kind of organisations?

"I cannot think of a single topic I have worked on during my years as FEFAC President that would not have either a direct impact on either ForFarmers or our farmer customers. FEFAC and the Member Associations rely on contributions from experts from companies such as ForFarmers and by being involved we are effectively helping to shape our own future."

What are your learnings looking back to this period?

"Firstly FEFAC is highly respected by stakeholders and the feed industry is fortunate to have such professional representation. FEFAC’s credibility comes from providing reliable information and evidence and helping to provide answers and solutions for policy makers and not just pointing out problems and expecting someone else to solve them.

On a more personal note, if you believe something is the right thing to do, keep going, deal with the inevitable setbacks along the way but always keep the original objective in mind and take people along with you."