Walcha farmer Jock Laurie has been returned as the President of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) for a second term at the NFF Members’ Council meeting and AGM in Canberra. Speaking at the Members’ Council meeting yesterday, Mr Laurie said that despite a generally positive outlook for the sector on a production front, the agricultural industry as a whole is still facing some major challenges in policy decision-making. “This is a very interesting time for all Australian farmers, with some of the major policy decisions up for debate in Federal Parliament having the potential for major implications and ramifications for our sector,” Mr Laurie said. “From water availability through the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, to additional costs through the carbon tax, to the need for a consistent approach to mining and coal seam gas regulation across all States and Territories, there are some major decisions that the Government is currently making that are going to seriously affect our farmers. “And that’s exactly why the NFF exists, to work with the Government on the issues of importance to agriculture and to fight for a strong and sustainable future of our farming sector,” Mr Laurie said. The election of the NFF Board for 2012 was also held at the Members’ Council and AGM, with Duncan Fraser returned as NFF Vice-President and existing board members Andrew Broad, Victorian Farmers’ Federation; Alf Cristaudo, CANEGROWERS; Brent Finlay, AgForce; and independent Board director Joanne Grainger all returned. Mr Laurie paid tribute to outgoing NFF Board member and former NSW Farmers’ President Charlie Armstrong as he stepped down from the Board, and welcomed incoming Board member, current NSW Farmers’ President Fiona Simson. “Charlie has provided very valuable input to the NFF Board over the past two years, and we thank him for his contribution. I am very pleased to advise that Charlie will remain as part of the NFF family as Chair of the Workplace Relations committee. I also extend a warm welcome to Fiona Simson in joining the NFF Board. Her passion and commitment to agricultural issues will provide a strong complement to our existing team,” Mr Laurie said. The NFF Members’ Council meeting continues in Canberra today where policy issues including the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and mining and coal seam gas regulation will be debated and discussed. Pictured, the NFF Board at the 2011 Members’ Council and AGM dinner with Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig. From LtoR: Alf Cristaudo, Andrew Broad, Joanne Grainger, Jock Laurie, Senator Joe Ludwig, Duncan Fraser, Fiona Simson, Charlie Armstrong and Brent Finlay. Senator Ludwig and acting Prime Minister Swan issued a media release congratulating Mr Laurie on his reappointment. Read it http://www.daff.gov.au/ludwig/media_office/media_releases/media_releases/2011/november/gillard-gov-congratulates-re-elected-nff-president[here].