National Farmers' Federation

NFF restructure gets full support of members for ’09 launch

TODAY the members of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) unanimously endorsed a new membership and organisational structure that will enable the whole of agriculture to be involved with the nation’s peak farm body.
NFF President David Crombie said the members – comprising state farmer and commodity groups from around the country – all agreed to positive and far-reaching changes to strengthen national farm representation.
“The changes allow for wider representation, engagement through the whole agricultural supply chain and an even stronger focus on evidence- and outcomes-based policy development,” Mr Crombie said.
“We are enabling agribusiness to be involved with the NFF as Associate Members, with this block of membership limited to no more than a 40% stake in voting rights. This ensures that the majority of voting power remains where it belongs, in the hands of farmers.
“That said, obviously, a key driver in the reformed structure is recognition of the changing face of Australian agriculture. It is becoming far more integrated and the desire and need of farmers to be engaged with others through the supply chain to take forward agriculture’s case on national issues is simply a reality… and it’s a positive reality.”
Over the past 18 months, the NFF’s review has involved extensive consultation with farmers across all states, as well as member and non-member farm groups. The engagement and feedback then fed into a set of principles agreed by NFF members in September, for a new representative model covering:
* The essential need for national representation;
* The need for wider and more inclusive representation;
* Clearly defined roles between national, state and commodity groups to avoid wasteful duplication;
* Access to the strongest possible research and policy capacity;
* Engagement with supply chain participants;
* Better communication to producers;
* The need for flexibility and to be easy to do business with; and
* The need for financial stability.
“The changes made today will not only enable us to deliver on all of these fundamentals, but significantly build a new and more robust NFF to take farm representation into the modern era,” Mr Crombie said.
“Under the new model, members will have a new subscription basis. We trust this will enable more state farm and commodity groups to join the NFF. The Associate Membership category will enable stakeholders beyond the farm-gate, with an interest and involvement in the sector, to be actively involved.
“We want to capture, involve and engage all of the players in modern agriculture and we want to improve our capacity in research and policy development throughout the food and fibre supply chains.
“The NFF has been, and is, a strong brand, universally recognised as the farmer’s voice and one of Australia’s leading advocacy and lobbying groups. Today we have taken decisions that strengthen and build the organisation to better enable us to vigorously pursue the interests of Australia’s farmers.”
The new structure comes into effect as of 1 July 2009.

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