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Nationwide farmer study aims to canvas 'big-ticket' issues

24 June, 2014

Farmers should head online and have their say on the future of farm sector representation in Australia by participating in a new study, the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) has urged.

NFF President, Brent Finlay, said Newgate Research had been appointed to undertake an independent review of representation across local, state and national levels.

"There is general consensus across our sector that our current system of representation is facing challenges. This review is a big step forward in overcoming adversity and grasping the opportunities for having a 21st century farm voice," Finlay said.

"Newgate Research has already conducted extensive consultations, 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, ensuring their voices and concerns are heard. The survey will canvass views on the big-ticket issues faced by farmers, and help identify what makes sector-wide representation most effective," Finlay said.

In early 2014, a root-and-branch analysis of all levels of farm sector representation in Australia was initiated under the unified leadership of the NFF and its membership, including state-based farm organisations, commodity councils and associate members.

'Real, radical change'

"We're conscious that similar reviews have been conducted in the past but, without sufficient industry-wide buy-in, they have had little effect. This time around we are determined that we achieve real and, if necessary, radical change rather than more tinkering around the edges," Finlay said.

"The project is about creating an environment that supports the ability of farmers to operate profitably, while ensuring agriculture continues to be valued as an influential sector. It's not about protecting peak representative jobs, or finding new ways to fund the existing structure.

"Everything is on the table. I encourage anyone with an interest in having an effective, consistent and powerful voice on behalf of Australian agriculture to get involved."

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