Fighting for our farmers' future

Tuesday 21 August, 2012

Congress: registrations open

Registrations for the NFF 2012 National Congress are now open! The Congress will be held at the AIS Arena in Canberra on Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 October, and will focus on the food and fibre boom and the challenges and opportunities for Australian agriculture: from grass roots to global.

Farmers, the agricultural industry and government are invited to attend Congress, to hear from farmers, leading experts and MPs about the road ahead for agriculture, and the practicalities of major policy decisions for the sector - including the carbon tax, the Carbon Farming Initiative, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and the issues around mining and coal seam gas.

A special discounted rate is available for farmers who are members of NFF members. For more information, or to secure your seat at the Congress table, visit the Congress website today.

Spring session of Parliament

Last week marked a return to Parliament for the Spring session, and with it, a return to meetings with MPs for the NFF on major policy priority issues.

NFF President Jock Laurie, CEO Matt Linnegar and NFF policy managers last week met with Senator the Hon. Joe Ludwig, the Hon. Julie Bishop MP, the Hon. John Cobb MP, the Hon. Andrew Robb MP and the Hon. Rob Oakeshott MP, while this week are meeting with Senator the Hon. Christine Milne, Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz, the Hon. Bill Shorten MP and the Hon. Tony Burke MP on issues ranging from drought reform to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to labour shortages and the Fair Work Act.

El Niño looms: Let's talk drought

With the threat of a return to dry El Niño conditions currently being predicted for the eastern half of Australia, the NFF continues to push for drought policy reform. The next drought is a case of when, not if, and ensuring a suitable drought policy is in place is essential.

We believe this policy must focus on both preparing farmers for the next drought during the good seasons, while also acknowledging that there may be periods of drought in the future that will required more than an ad-hoc policy response. It's about finding a balance between self-reliance and ensuring assistance is in place should the drought become severe or prolonged.

Last week, the NFF and its members including AgForce, NSW Farmers and the Victorian Farmers Federation met with Senator the Hon. Joe Ludwig, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Hon. John Cobb MP and the National Rural Advisory Council to work through the proposed drought reform measures.

For more, read our release.

Agri rates steady - but farms feeling the impact of US drought

While drought policy reform is on the agenda in Australia, drought also continues to dominant headline news abroad - particularly the drought currently gripping the United States.

Last week, the US President announced that the US Government would buy $170 million of domestic meat supplies from farmers, over and above the $30 million already pledged in drought aid. Given that the US is the world’s largest agricultural exporter, this decision could potentially impact farmers at home, who are highly susceptible to global market prices.

Sound financial planning and risk management has never been more important for Australian farmers: particularly in light of the release of the NFF's Agribusiness Loan Monitor last week, which found no change in interest rates across the board from financial lenders, after the Reserve Bank of Australia kept rates unchanged at 3.50 percent.

For more, view the Loan Monitor, or read our our release.

Coming up at NFF

> National Landcare Week
September 3-9 marks National Landcare Week: a week to celebrate the role Australia's farmers play as environmental stewards. Farmers are at the frontline of delivering environmental outcomes on behalf of the Australian community, with a recent Landcare survey finding 93 percent of farmers practiced Landcare on their farms. The NFF is proud to be a founding partner of the Landcare movement. For more on National Landcare Week, visit the Landcare website.

> National Food Plan: Have you had your say?
In addition to the NFF led Blueprint for Australian Agriculture, the Federal Government's National Food Plan is shaping up as the other major visioning document for the Australian agricultural sector. While the Blueprint is about the grassroots farming sector setting out what we want to see happen in the future, the National Food Plan is a look at Government policy and how it impacts our sector. Consultations are underway around the country now - if you are yet to have your say, do so today via the DAFF website.

The NFF AGvocate
Issue 23.

In this issue

Congress: registrations open

Spring session of Parliament

El Niño looms: Let's talk drought

Agri rates steady - but farms feeling the impact of US drought

Coming up at NFF

National Landcare Week

National Food Plan: Have you had your say?

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