National Farmers' Federation

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National Farmers' Federation Headquarters in Barton, Australian Capital Territory

The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) is an organization that represents farmers and the agricultural sector in Australia.[1]


NFF's members are the state-level farmers' organizations, national commodity councils, and other affiliated members. According to the NFF charter, state-level farmers' organizations represent the interests of the agricultural sector in their respective states. Issues related to individual commodities or interstate/national farming concerns are represented by relevant national commodity councils. The NFF focuses on those policy issues that affect all farmers, regardless of location or commodity. These include such issues as farm business and productivity, access to markets, natural resource management, biosecurity, animal health and welfare, education and training and workplace relations.[2]

NFF policy is set by the NFF Members' Council, which comprises the presidents of the NFF's 26 member organizations:

  • Australian Dairy Farmers
  • Australian Livestock Exporters Council
  • Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association
  • Australian Pork Limited
  • Australian Veterinary Association
  • Beechworth Honey
  • Corporate Agriculture Group
  • Cotton Australia
  • Cattle Council of Australia
  • Goat Industry Council of Australia
  • GrainCorp
  • GrainGrowers
  • Northern Territory Cattlemens' Association
  • Pastoralists' Association of West Darling
  • Ridley Corporation
  • Ricegrowers' Association of Australia
  • Ruralco
  • Sheapmeat Council of Australia
  • Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association
  • Western Australian Farmers Federation (WAFarmers)
  • WoolProducers Australia

Jock Laurie, a grazier from Walcha in the New England region of NSW, was president of the organization from late 2010 until April 2013, when he resigned to run for pre-selection for the NSW National Party in the NSW seat of Northern Tablelands. At Laurie's resignation, Duncan Fraser, former NFF Vice-President, became president. Fraser will remain president until the next AGM, scheduled for November 2013.

The current CEO of the National Farmers' Federation is Matt Linnegar, replacing former CEO Ben Fargher who stepped down from the position in January 2011.


The NFF was formed in 1979.

Past presidents of the NFF are: the late Sir Donald Eckersley OBE (1979-1981); Michael Davidson OBE (1981-1984); Hon. Ian McLachlan AO, SA, VIC (1984-1988); The late John Allwright AO (1988-1991); Graham Blight (1991-1994); Donald McGauchie AO (1994-1998); Ian Donges (1998-2002); Peter Corish, NSW/QLD (2002-2006); David Crombie (2006-2010); Jock Laurie(2010-2013); Duncan Fraser (2013 – present)

Past officers are: John Whitelaw, NFF Executive Director, 1979-1985; Hon. Andrew Robb AO, NFF Executive Director, 1985-1988; Rick Farley, NFF Executive Director, 1988-1995; Wendy Craik, NFF Executive Director, 1995-2000;Anna Cronin, NFF Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, 2000-2005; Ben Fargher, NFF Chief Executive Officer, 2005-2011; Matt Linnegar, NFF Chief Executive Officer, 2011–present.

Historically, NFF was a key player in a number of industrial relations disputes, including Australia's infamous Waterfront Dispute; The shearing Wide Comb Dispute; and The Mudginberri dispute.

The NFF Award of Honour recognizes people who have made an important contribution to the NFF and the farming sector. These include: W.E.L (Bill) de Vos AM (1987); J (Jim) Tehan AM (1988); D (David) Partridge (1990); R (Roy) Smith (1993); J.W.S (John) Mackenzie (1999); A.K. (Alick) Lascelles (2000); G.J (Graham) Blight (2002); Hon. Ian McLachlan AO (2004); Geoffrey Crick (2009); John Underwood (2009); Alex Arbuthnot AM (2012) [3]

Key policy priorities[edit]

The NFF's key policy areas include:[4] farm business and productivity; access to markets; natural resource management; biosecurity, health and welfare; education and training; and workplace relations.

The NFF has been involved in a number of major policy debates in Australia, including most recently, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, carbon tax, foreign investment, drought policy reform and livestock exports.

NFF Congress[edit]

The NFF has run its National Congress three times, in 2009, 2010 and 2012. The two first Congresses focused on modern farming, and adapting to the changing agriculture environment. In 2012, the Congress was around understanding, and capitalizing on, the food and fibre boom.[5]

Blueprint for Australian agriculture[edit]

In February 2013, the NFF released the first Blueprint for Australian Agriculture. The blueprint is a strategic plan for the Australian agricultural sector and its supply chain, setting out its future direction. The blueprint is the first cross-industry plan for the sector, developed by the sector.

In 2013, the NFF moved into the legacy phase of the blueprint: turning the blueprint document into action. The blueprint was developed with the support of Westpac, Woolworths and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, with Westpac and Woolworths continuing their support into the legacy phase, along with new partners Bayer and Syngenta Australia.[6]

The Australian Farmers' Fighting Fund[edit]

Australian Farmers' Fighting Fund was created in 1985 to provide financial, legal and professional assistance to farmers. The Fund was created out of Mudgenberri dispute in 1985, funded in part by farmers and in part by non-farming businesses. The AFFF is governed independently of the NFF, and is controlled by a Board of Trustees, three of which are independent trustees.

The current trustees are: Mr Hugh Nivison, Chairman; Mr George Mack; Mr Donald McGauchie AO; Mr Jock Laurie; Mr Duncan Fraser; Ms Joanne Grainger; and Mr Matt Linnegar;

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Farmers' Federation". National Farmers' Federation. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "About NFF". National Farmers' Federation. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Members' Council". National Farmers' Federation. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "Policy & Issues". National Farmers' Federation. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "National Farmers' Federation 2012 National Congress". National Farmers' Federation. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "Blueprint for Australian Agriculture". National Farmers' Federation. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 

External links[edit]