The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) is an Australian non-profit membership–based organization that represents farmers and the agricultural sector in Australia. 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 president of the National Farmers' Federation is Fiona Simson since November 2016; the organisation's chief executive officer is Tony Mahar, since April 2016.
The NFF's key policy areas include farm business and productivity; access to markets; digital connectivity; 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 backpacker tax, 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.
The NFF was formed in 1979. NFF policy is set by the NFF Members' Council, which comprises the presidents of the NFF's 31–member organizations
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.
The NFF's 31–member organizations are:
The following people have served as president of the National Farmers' Federation:
|Name||Term start||Term end||Term of office|
|Sir Donald Eckersley OBE||1979||1981||1–2 years|
|Michael Davidson OBE||1981||1984||2–3 years|
|Hon. Ian McLachlan AO||1984||1988||3–4 years|
|John Allwright AO||1988||1991||2–3 years|
|Graham Blight||1991||1994||2–3 years|
|Donald McGauchie AO||1994||1998||3–4 years|
|Ian Donges||1998||2002||3–4 years|
|Peter Corish||2002||2006||3–4 years|
|David Crombie||2006||2010||3–4 years|
|Jock Laurie||2010||2013||2–3 years|
|Duncan Fraser||April 2013||November 2013||0 years|
|Brent Finlay||2013||2016||3 years|
The following people have served as chief executive officer, or another appropriate title, of the National Farmers' Federation:
|Name||Term start||Term end||Term of office||Title of office|
|John Whitelaw||1979||1985||5–6 years||Executive director|
|Andrew Robb AO||1985||1988||2–3 years|
|Rick Farley||1988||1995||6–7 years|
|Wendy Craik||1995||2000||4–5 years|
|Anna Cronin||2000||2005||4–5 years||Executive director/chief executive officer|
|Ben Fargher||2005||2011||5–6 years||Chief executive officer|
|Matt Linnegar||2011||2014||2–3 years|
|Simon Talbot||2014||2016||1–2 years|
|Tony Mahar||2016||present||1–2 years|
The NFF Award of Honour recognizes people who have made an important contribution to the NFF and the farming sector. These include:
|Bill de Vos AM||1987|
|Jim Tehan AM||1988|
|Hon. Ian McLachlan AO||2004|
|Alex Arbuthnot AM||2012|
The NFF has run its National Congress four times, in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014. 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. The theme for the 2014 Congress was 'Producing Our Future'.
The next Congress will be held in 2016.
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); Peter Reith; Donald McGauchie AO; Brent Finlay; Duncan Fraser; Fiona Simson; and Tony Mahar.