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NFF CEO Wins 'Young Executive of the Year Award'

11 August 2006

National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) CEO Ben Fargher has won the prestigious AFR Boss 2006 ‘Young Executive of the Year’ Award at a gala ceremony at Darling Harbour in Sydney.

Mr Fargher, 32, is one of six winners identified through a search for Australia’s best and brightest young executives – all under 35 – each chosen for their ‘potential as leaders, their commitment to their careers and organisations, and their ability to operate successfully under pressure’.

Mr Fargher said he hoped the recognition would help to demonstrate that modern Australian farming is a vibrant, dynamic sector – far from the ‘doom and gloom’ of some popular stereotypes.

“Young people have a bright future in agriculture,” he said. “We’re seeing younger people coming back to the family farm, bringing with them new ideas and technologies that embrace environmental sustainability. These new approaches are making farms sustainable businesses into the future.

“They are coming back to the farm to be the CEO of their own company, leaving the office ‘rat race’ behind, work in the outdoors and be part of a growing sector which is renowned as a world-leader.

“In fact, Australia exports over 70% of our agricultural produce. A massive 98% of Australia’s wool and cotton is exported. Two-thirds of our beef and three-quarters of our wheat heads overseas. Some 80% of our sugar and over half of our dairy production are destined for world markets.

“Just a few years ago Australia exported virtually no sheepmeat to the US. Today that market is worth $350 million-a-year. Young farmers know they can either choose to be in the vanguard of a generational shift that seizes new opportunities, or be left behind. Young farmers are vital for driving the sector – and Australia’s prosperity – forward.

“Things like drought hurt, and make for depressing headlines, but farmers recognise that Australia’s harsh climate is a fact of life. Modern farmers are embracing environmental preparedness to be more self-reliant and weather drought.

“Australian farms, combined with their flow on industries, generate $72 billion-a-year to national Gross Domestic Product – accounting for 12.1% of GDP. Australian farmers have achieved the highest rate of productivity growth of any sector of the Australian economy, averaging 3.8% per year, over the past 10 years.

“Australian farms generate $28 billion-a-year in exports – 17% of all Australian exports, and support 1.6 million jobs across our cities and regions, with 336,700 directly employed on-farm. They invest $222 million-a-year in research and development to harness innovative approaches and technological advances to make farm production more efficient, competitive and sustainable.

“This is a long way from ‘doom and gloom’. It’s a contribution to the nation we should all celebrate.”

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan, NFF Public Affairs, (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250 email:

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