On Monday, the National Farmers’ Federation celebrated the past and looked to the future with a day of special events in Canberra, attended by national dignitaries from the Prime Minister down.
The road to $100 billion
A year on from the release of its plan for agriculture to achieve $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030, the NFF released an assessment of the progress to date.
The 2030 Report Card was delivered at the 2030 Leaders’ Summit in the theatrette of Parliament House. The Summit was attended by 250 of agriculture’s best and brightest and featured keynote presentations from leading Australian and global thinkers, including Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie; Australian Banking Association chief, Anna Bligh; AFL Diversity General Manager, Tanya Hosch and Rabobank Financial Markets Research Lead, Michael Every.
“Our farmers have had another tough year, with severe drought and trade tensions behind a forecast modest decline in agricultural production from about $60b to $59bn in 2019-2020,” NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar said.
“However, despite a tough year in the bush, our industry stands committed to long-term, sustainable growth.”
Mr Mahar highlighted export demand, sustainability and biodiversity policy and innovation as areas of significant progress during 2019 but said more needed to be done to address agriculture’s biosecurity and workforce challenges and the sector’s response to climate change, drought and energy.
PM Morrison joins NFF’s birthday bash
In the evening, with the Parliamentary Great Hall as the backdrop, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, joined 550 of the farm community, including former NFF Presidents, to mark 40 years since the establishment of the NFF.
In her address to the crowd, NFF President, Fiona Simson said in 1979, farm industry groups saw the benefit of a team approach.
“At the time, farmers were under pressure. Wool prices were low; inflation, oil and wages were all high.
“Previously split on issues like marketing structures – farmers of all persuasions were increasingly finding common ground.
“They were recognising the need for a united approach on taxation, monetary policy, trade, and a fair approach to industrial relations.”
Ms Simson said industrial relations, farm business conditions and trade were and continue to be staple issues, for the peak body.
“The formative years of the NFF were heady times. The battles fought and the agendas pursued have in many ways, defined the NFF and the organisation it is today.”
In his speech, Prime Minister Morrison reiterated his support for NFF’s plan for a $100 billion agriculture sector by 2030.
“This is a bold vision. But it’s an achievable one,” he said.
The Prime Minister reflected on agriculture’s forecast output for 2019-2020 of $59 billion.
“That’s 50 per cent more than a decade ago, even though we’ve been in drought for much of that time and even though trade tensions have impacted the value of our exports in the past year.”
Ms Simson thanked the Prime Minister for his Government’s support of the NFF’s $100 billion-by-2030 vision.