Fighting for our farmers' future

Friday 20 June, 2014

HAVE YOUR SAY ON FARM REPRESENTAION

The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) is encouraging farmers to head online and have their say on the future of farm sector representation in Australia.

Newgate Research has been appointed to undertake an independent review of representation across local, state and national levels. Extensive consultations have already been conducted, including interviews with farming organisations and peak bodies, as well as focus groups with grass-roots farmers.

We are now inviting farmers to take part in a quantitative study online. The survey will canvass views on the big-ticket issues faced by farmers, and help identify what makes sector-wide representation most effective.

To provide feedback, register interest on the Future of Farm Representation website. When the survey launches, registrants will be invited to participate.

MAKING COMPETITION FAIRER

The NFF has recently lodged its submission to the Australian Government's "root and branch" review of Australia's competition law and policy, calling for a more transparent supply chain, and a rebalancing of market power in Australia.

In developing our submission, we engaged with our members and key stakeholders across the supply chain, identifying key reforms to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. In the submission, we outlined various areas requiring change, including unconscionable conduct, misuse of market power, powers of the ACCC, agri-terrorism and much more.

The review is a rare opportunity to outline key areas and press for change, towards a fairer more robust competition legislative framework for Australian agriculture. We remain firm that any changes to the framework underpin a profitable and competitive sector now and into the future.

To read our submission, see here.

DROUGHT & FURTHER DELAYS

Despite parts of the country, particularly many southern cropping regions, receiving above normal rainfall in autumn, dry and patchy conditions persist in inland Queensland and northern New South Wales.

The rollout of the drought assistance measures announced by PM Tony Abbott has been slow. Only some of the measures, such as the Interim Farm Household Assistance, are currently available to farmers. In Queensland, the concessional drought loan application process has opened up, however there is still no indication of when farmers in other states will have access to the 4% concessional loans. The NFF encourages drought-affected farmers to check whether may be available for assistance, and not self-assess. Further information can be found here.

The NFF and Members have been pursuing Australian and State Governments to effectively deliver the assistance measures aimed at helping drought-affected farmers get back on their feet. Last week, NFF VP Christine Rolfe accompanied Shadow Minister for Ag Joel Fitzgibbon, on a tour of drought-affected properties in QLD, reiterating the need for a bipartisan approach to drought policy reform.

We have also been working with the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to ensure their products and services meet the needs of farmers. We commend BoM for their willingness to develop better tools and services, aimed at helping farmers access accurate and relevant weather information. Further information on BoM's current weather services is available here, and another great resource is available at CliMate.

Earlier this year, NFF President Brent Finlay on a drought tour with QLD Ag Minister John McVeigh and AgForce President Ian Burnett

FARM EXPORTS OUTLOOK

Earnings from farm exports are estimated to reach a high of $41 billion in 2013-14, with livestock and livestock product export earnings expected to rise by 23.3 per cent to $18.4 billion, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Barnaby Joyce, said the estimated increase in farm export earnings in 2013-14 is supported by higher farm production and favourable export prices.

The Minister also said that less favourable conditions forecast for 2014-15 mean that farm export earnings are likely to decline from this year’s high, to be around $38.5 billion. At this forecast level, export earnings in 2014–15 would still be around 9 per cent above the average of $35.5 billion over the 10 years to 2012–13 in real terms.

More information is in the ABARES Agricultureal Commodities 2014 June Quarter release.

NFF WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS

The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) is excited to welcome its newest Members, Future Farmers Network (FFN) and Animal Medicines Australia (AMA).

We have worked closely with the FFN over the recent years, and are pleased to announce this formal partnership. FFN's addition will ensure more young farmers are represented at a national level, and are actively involved in shaping the very policies that will affect them.

We also welcome AMA to the NFF, who will be valuable in strengthening our policy and advocacy efforts on core farm issues, such as regulation of AgVet chemicals and animal welfare. AMA's member companies represent in excess of 85 per cent of all animal health products in Australia.

The addition of FFN and AMA to the NFF will help further strengthen the broader representation we have across all aspects of Australian agriculture. For more read our media release welcoming AMA here and FFN here.

Upcoming Events

> NFF CONGRESS: SAVE THE DATE!
Lock in the 20-21 October for the NFF 2014 National Congress! At 'Producing Our Future' we'll explore core business, left-field ideas and blue-sky opportunities for agriculture at the grass-roots, Australian and global levels.
See the Congress website for further information.

The NFF AGvocate
Issue 53

In this issue

HAVE YOUR SAY ON FARM REPRESENTAION

MAKING COMPETITION FAIRER

DROUGHT & FURTHER DELAYS

FARM EXPORTS OUTLOOK

NFF WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS

Upcoming Events

NFF CONGRESS: SAVE THE DATE!

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