National Farmers' Federation

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National Farmers' Federation
National Farmers' Federation Headquarters.jpg
National Farmers' Federation Headquarters in Barton, Australian Capital Territory.
Founded 1979 (1979)
  • Barton, Australian Capital Territory
Key people
  • Duncan Fraser (President)
  • Matt Linnegar (CEO)

The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) is an Australian non-profit membership–based organization that represents farmers and the agricultural sector in Australia.[1] 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 current chairman of the National Farmers' Federation is Duncan Fraser, since 2013; and the organisation's chief executive officer is Matt Linnegar, since January 2011.

Key policy priorities[edit]

The NFF's key policy areas include farm business and productivity; access to markets; natural resource management; biosecurity, health and welfare; education and training; and workplace relations.[2] 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.

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.[3]


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.[4]

The NFF was formed in 1979.

Membership structure[edit]

NFF policy is set by the NFF Members' Council, which comprises the presidents of the NFF's 27–member organizations:

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.

Office bearers[edit]


The following people have served as president of the National Farmers' Federation:

Order Name Term start Term end Term of office
1 Sir Donald Eckersley OBE 1979 1981 1–2 years
2 Michael Davidson OBE 1981 1984 2–3 years
3 Hon. Ian McLachlan AO 1984 1988 3–4 years
4 John Allwright AO 1988 1991 2–3 years
5 Graham Blight 1991 1994 2–3 years
6 Donald McGauchie AO 1994 1998 3–4 years
7 Ian Donges 1998 2002 3–4 years
8 Peter Corish 2002 2006 3–4 years
9 David Crombie 2006 2010 3–4 years
10 Jock Laurie 2010 2013 2–3 years
11 Duncan Fraser 2013 present 1–2 years

Chief executive officer[edit]

The following people have served as chief executive officer, or another appropriate title, of the National Farmers' Federation:

Order Name Term start Term end Term of office Title of office
1 John Whitelaw 1979 1985 5–6 years Executive director
2 Andrew Robb AO 1985 1988 2–3 years
3 Rick Farley 1988 1995 6–7 years
4 Wendy Craik 1995 2000 4–5 years
5 Anna Cronin 2000 2005 4–5 years Executive director/chief executive officer
6 Ben Fargher 2005 2011 5–6 years Chief executive officer
7 Matt Linnegar January 2011 (2011-01) present 3–4 years

Award of Honour[edit]

The NFF Award of Honour recognizes people who have made an important contribution to the NFF and the farming sector. These include:[6]

Name Year awarded
Bill de Vos AM 1987
Jim Tehan AM 1988
David Partridge 1990
Roy Smith 1993
John Mackenzie 1999
Alick Lascelles 2000
Graham Blight 2002
Hon. Ian McLachlan AO 2004
Geoffrey Crick 2009
John Underwood
Alex Arbuthnot AM 2012

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.[7]

Australian Farmers' Fighting Fund[edit]

The 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 Hugh Nivison (chairman); George Mack; Donald McGauchie AO; Jock Laurie; Duncan Fraser; Joanne Grainger; and Matt Linnegar.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Farmers' Federation". National Farmers' Federation. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Policy & Issues". National Farmers' Federation. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Blueprint for Australian Agriculture". National Farmers' Federation. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "About NFF". National Farmers' Federation. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Membership of National Farmers' Federation". About us. WoolProducers Australia. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Members' Council". National Farmers' Federation. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  7. ^ "National Farmers' Federation 2012 National Congress". National Farmers' Federation. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 

External links[edit]