Harper Adams University: Tributes paid to farming and Harper Adams champion Lord Plumb

The Harper Adams community sends its condolences to the family of Lord Plumb, a long-standing patron of the University’s Development Trust.

Lord Plumb, who served as the only British President of the European Parliament, died on April 15th, aged 97.

He was president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) from 1970 to 1979, and was elected an MEP for the Cotswolds in 1979. He remained a member of the European Parliament until 1999 and served as its president from 1987 until 1989. He was knighted in 1973, and retired from the House of Lords in 2017.


Lord Plumb’s family were from Cheshire and had farmed for several generations, with the young Henry taking over the running of his father’s largely dairy farm at Coleshill in Warwickshire after his death in 1952.

Speaking as he officially opened the Jerman and Leverhulme Halls of Residence at Harper Adams in 2016, he said: “I think it’s fantastic here. I was taken away from school because my father needed somebody to work on the farm during the war, and that left me with a gap in my education. That gap could have been filled here at Harper Adams.”

He added: “You make a living by what you do, but you make a life by what you give. That is exactly what has happened here and what has happened through the ages thanks to those who have supported this wonderful establishment.”

Doris Taylor, Head of Development at Harper Adams, paid tribute: “Lord Plumb was a long-standing and very supportive Patron of the Development Trust; an influential champion of farming and incredibly supportive of young people entering the industry. We are very grateful for the support provided to the university and its students through Lord Plumb and the Henry Plumb Foundation.”

NFU president Minette Batters paid tribute to the organisation’s “greatest” leader. “British farming has lost one of its greatest ever advocates and the NFU has lost its greatest ever president,” Mrs Batters said. “There was no one more passionate about British farming than Lord Plumb and he remained a great champion for the sector throughout his life.”

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