National Farmers' Federation

Next leader of national horticulture industry announced

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) Horticulture Council has today announced Jolyon Burnett as its next chairperson.

The much-anticipated appointment follows an exhaustive search triggered by Fiona Simson, the inaugural Council chair, stepping down mid-year as her term as NFF President comes to a close.

Mr Burnett brings a wealth of experience to the role, having held a range of executive and governance positions in a horticultural career spanning four decades. This gives him the perspective and commitment to progress the work of the Council as it continues to grow.

“Having witnessed the sector suffer for a long time from not having a single strong and unified voice in Canberra, to then being involved in the formation of the Council less than five years ago, picking up the mantle now as chair is an exciting and motivating prospect,” Mr Burnett said.

“The Council has come a long way with the support of its members and the NFF, but we all realise there is still further to go if it’s going to fulfil its true potential.

“The Council is focused on securing a reliable, productive workforce, expanding our export opportunities, creating fairer and more efficient domestic markets, and ensuring biosecurity funding is sustainable and equitable for plant industries.

“As chair I will hang my hat on whether we can make an appreciable difference in each of these focus areas for the growers putting food in our supermarket aisles every single day.”

Ms Simson said now was the perfect time for a change in chair, with a mounting commitment from the NFF and its members to the Council, and a clear need to work more collaboratively and speak with one voice nationally on key issues impacting the industry.

“As the Council evolves, becoming more mature and independent, and as the horticulture industry continues its own path of growth and transformation, for the next chair there will be great opportunities, but also great challenges,” Ms Simson said.

“Which is why I am very pleased the Council and national horticulture industry has found an excellent and accomplished chair and leader in Jolyon who will take them on the journey.”

Mr Burnett will officially assume the position of chair on 1 July for an initial term of three years.


About Jolyon Burnett

  • Currently a director of the NSW North Coast Local Land Services and Santos Organic, a small organic retailer in northern NSW. 
  • Previous board or governance appointments with Australian Nut Industry Council, the Organic Industry Standards and Certification Council, the Horticulture Australia Council, the NSW Business North Coast Regional Advisory Council, the Australian Government National Water Commission Advisory Council, and the National Working Party on Pesticide Application.
  • Formerly CEO of the Australian Macadamia Society, Irrigation Australia and Nursery and Garden Industry Australia.
  • Holds degrees in Agricultural Science and Environmental Science and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
  • Lives at Eltham in northern NSW with his wife Annie on a small holding with 2 cats, 10 chickens and a lot of poorly grown nut and fruit trees.

About the NFF Horticulture Council

The Council is the preeminent forum for deliberating and forming policy concerning our national horticulture industry. It was established in 2019 and is now comprised of 21 national community and state peak horticulture bodies, who together represent the full breadth of an incredibly diverse industry. 

The Council develops policy positions on common issues of national importance to the horticulture sector such as trade, workforce, biosecurity, sustainability, markets and competition, R&D, telecommunications and infrastructure.