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Victorian dairy farmer receives NFF Award of Honour

22 October 2012

A Victorian dairy farmer with a lifelong association with agriculture and land management has tonight been awarded the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) Award of Honour.

Alex Arbuthnot AM, of Nambrok in Gippsland, was presented with his award by NFF President Jock Laurie at the Art of Farming cocktail function in Canberra, as part of the NFF’s 2012 National Congress.

Mr Laurie congratulated Mr Arbuthnot 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. Tonight, 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 Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) and the NFF.

“On behalf of the NFF and our members, I extend my congratulations to Alex,” Mr Laurie said.

From his 500 cow dairy farm near Sale, and following a long involvement in the VFF, Alex became the first dairy farmer to be elected as VFF President in 1989.

Alex’s involvement with the VFF led to a strong association with the NFF, with Alex serving as Chair of the NFF’s Conservation Committee and working closely with then Executive Director Rick Farley. With Rick, Alex was heavily involved in the establishment of the historic partnership between the NFF and the Australian Conservation Foundation that led to the establishment of Landcare Australia.

Alex’s selfless contribution to Australian agriculture and to Landcare was acknowledged in 1998, when he was awarded an Order of Australia medal.

Today, Alex remains involved in both agricultural representation and Landcare. He is a Director of Landcare Australia Limited and has represented the NFF on the Australian Landcare Council. Alex sits on the NFF Mining and Coal Seam Gas Taskforce and VFF Land Management Committee, is a member of the Victorian Minister’s Climate Change Adaptation Panel and the current chair of the National Blackberry Taskforce.

The NFF Congress continues at the AIS Arena in Canberra tomorrow. Tonight’s Art of Farming cocktail function is a celebration of Australian food, fibre and farmers and a showcase of produce from around the country. Art of Farming is proudly supported by major sponsor, Woolworths.

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