National Farmers' Federation

NFF restructure to build on national strength

AT its recent annual Policy Council meeting in Canberra, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) called for reform to build on the strength of the nation’s peak farm body and its associated entities, in recognition of the changing face of Australian agriculture.
This was agreed to by all of the NFF’s 15 member state farming and commodity organisations.
NFF President David Crombie, who has been a vocal advocate for reforming the NFF’s membership structure since becoming President one year ago, noted: “It is not only prudent, but essential, that we take a close look at the existing model for national farm representation, which is now almost 30-years-old, and ask: ‘Can we do it better and more efficiently?’
“I certainly think we can. That’s why we at the NFF have driven the notion of reform and see it as an opportunity for all farming organisations – state farming and commodity bodies – to seriously look at the core business, relevance and services on offer.
“Clearly, there is no doubt of the absolute need to ensure modern farming in Australia continues to speak with a united voice and cohesion of purpose at the national level. This is as important as ever.
“All NFF members unanimously endorse the vital need for a single national peak farm organisation. That’s a given. Moreover, they reiterated their strong support for the NFF’s new Strategic Plan (2006-09), our Operational Plan and recognise the leading role the NFF is playing on the national front.”
Mr Crombie explained that the NFF has also established a constitutional review to ensure the organisation meets the contemporary needs of its members and modern farming’s interests. Importantly, he outlined the need to look at the general make-up of agricultural representation.
“Agriculture has changed markedly since the NFF was established in 1979,” he said. “We need to ensure our structures reflect that change and ensure our model has the flexibility to widen our representative base. That is, harnessing the strength of the agribusiness sector, addressing any duplication of resources among the membership and taking into account demographic changes including the emergence of peri-urban agriculture.
“All of these areas represent new opportunities, which we are actively exploring. The NFF has an extremely strong brand. In fact, last year Client Solutions found the NFF rated as one of the most effective lobby groups in the country.
“The reform process we have established is an opportunity for all farm organisations to look at their businesses and address the value proposition of what they provide to their members.”
Mr Crombie added that the NFF Board is driving the national reform process, in conjunction with its state and commodity members, as a priority over the coming year.
“Farmers are lucky to have an established and highly-respected peak body, through which they can speak with one voice,” he said. “We have a responsibility to work together as farmers, and farm groups, to make that voice even stronger, more relevant and sustainable into the future.”

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