Fighting for our farmers' future

Tuesday 23 October, 2012

The NFF Congress Edition

More than 300 farmers, agribusinesses and government representatives have gathered in Canberra over the past two days to discuss the food and fibre boom and the role of Australian agriculture, and to hear from key speakers including the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Julia Gillard MP, and the Opposition Leader, the Hon. Tony Abbott MP.

This edition of the NFF AGvocate has been dedicated to Congress - bringing you a snapshot of news and highlights. Presentations, speeches and photos from Congress will be uploaded to the Congress website over the coming days - please check back regularly for details!

The NFF wishes to thank its Congress sponsors: principal sponsor Coles, Art of Farming sponsor Woolworths, supporters DAFF and Santos, coffee hub sponsors QGC and NAB Agribusiness, lunch sponsors Landmark and AgStewardship Australia, morning tea sponsors Suncorp Bank Agribusiness, session sponsor and RIRDC.

We also wish to thank our Congress exhibitors: NFF corporate partner Prime Super, Nissan Fleet, ConnectingSpaces, Seasonal Worker Program, FarmApps, Invasive Animal CRC and John Deere.

Policies to support, not strangle

NFF President Jock Laurie called for strong and sensible policy decisions in his opening address to the Congress yesterday.

"While there are great opportunities ahead for Australian agriculture, seizing them will require long-term vision and Government policies that support, not strangle, agriculture," he said.

“The Australian Farm Institute analysis of the OECD review of national agricultural policies shows Australian agriculture receives the lowest amount of government support for any developed nation on earth. Meanwhile, an ANZ report predicts Australia’s farming sector will be able to grow exports to more than $1.7 trillion over the next four decades – provided we can overcome challenges.

“These two reports say it all: despite the lack of support, Australian
agriculture has enormous potential, provided that we are able to overcome the challenges ahead. We need long-term strategic policies - and that's what we're calling for at Congress," Mr Laurie said.

For more, read our media release. A video of Jock's address will be available via the NFF Congress website over the coming days.

Prime Minister's announcement

In very welcome news for the Australian farming sector, the Prime Minister today announced at the NFF Congress that the Government will establish a foreign investment register to provide greater transparency around the ownership of Australian agricultural land.

NFF President Jock Laurie welcomed the announcement as a win for the NFF, our members and farmers - given the NFF has been calling for a register since April this year.

The announcement promises to deliver a register that provides a more comprehensive picture of the specific size and locations of foreign agricultural landholdings - and the NFF looks forward to working with the Government on the development of the register.

For more, read our release or view the Prime Minister's full address to the NFF Congress.

Early Blueprint findings

Government policy, funding and decision making, commodity prices and the Australian dollar, and the perception of agriculture among the community are the three key issues facing Australian agriculture, according to the nation’s farmers and the wider supply chain.

The initial findings of the Blueprint for Australian Agriculture were released at Congress today – and the NFF is now seeking further input on the early findings.

More than 3,700 people had their say on the key issues, challenges, opportunities, solutions and risks for the Australian agricultural sector as part of the Blueprint. The Blueprint: Initial Findings report, including the full list of issues and key suggested solutions, is now available via the Blueprint webpage.

Your feedback and further input is sought from now until 20 November ahead of the launch of the final Blueprint report in early 2013. For more, read our release or visit the Blueprint webpage.

VIC dairy farmer receives award

A Victorian dairy farmer with a lifelong association with agriculture, land management and Landcare, Alex Arbuthnot AM, was awarded the NFF Award of Honour at the Art of Farming cocktail function last night.

Alex, of Nambrok in Gippsland, was presented with his award by NFF President Jock Laurie. Jock congratulated Alex, a former Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) President and a director of Landcare Australia, on becoming only the 11th recipient of the award in its 25 year history.

“The NFF Award of Honour was introduced in 1987 to recognise those individuals who have made a significant contribution to the development of a strong, progressive and sustainable farming sector in Australia, and to the NFF,” Mr Laurie said.

"The award is not granted every year – it is only presented when the NFF family recognise the need to acknowledge an outstanding recipient for their contribution. In 2012, that recipient is Alex Arbuthnot, whose life has been dedicated to campaigning for rural people, helping to grow Australia’s dynamic farming sector, and to contributing to both the VFF and the NFF."

For more on Alex's dedication to both agricultural representation and Landcare, read our release.

The NFF AGvocate
Issue 27

In this issue

The NFF Congress Edition

Policies to support, not strangle

Prime Minister's announcement

Early Blueprint findings

VIC dairy farmer receives award

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