November 08, 2013

8/11/13: Australia's myriad of agricultural organisations, which includes feed, faces restructuring

David Trebeck
a director of Grain Corp and author
of a report into National Farmers Federation's operations
Australia's 100-plus farmer-member organisations, which are fractured and in overall decline, need to adopt a single agricultural Farm Advocacy structure to represent them at national level.

In an interview with ABC Rural, David Trebeck, a director of Grain Corp and author of a report into National Farmers Federation's operations, agrees that while much has changed in the past 30 years for the better, the farm sector - including feed manufacturing - is being poorly represented at national level.

"It's best to start again. We need to have a single organisation and a single branding at national level with affiliates at state level to handle state issues and individual commodities," he says.

ABC Rural (which reports this story and more here)  pointed out the American Farm Bureau might provide a template where an organisation representing two million farmers had over six million members.

Trebeck said the same could be achieved in Australia by opening the organisation to groups working alongside the agriculture industry, adopting low membership fees and  offering attractive commercial benefits that are only available to members. 

"We could have an analogous situation here in rural and Australia in general," he added.

All about process than actions, working hard to get to the next step. In themselves they are not going to encourage farmers to sign up. 

A fragmented voice means the government can divide and rule over agriculture while a Far Advocacy structure would benefit all farmer organisations. "Time is running out. Every day that goes past the structure weakens - it's pretty urgent in my view," says Trebeck.

Hear the full interview here ….

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