Home' National Farmers Federation : Annual Review 2008-2009 Contents 40 NATIONAL FARMERS' FEDERATION ANNUAL R EVIEW 2008-09
Farm Day 09
Again in 2009, the NFF proudly supported Farm
Day -- a national initiative that sees farmers
throw open their gates to a city family for a
day in May as part of breaking down barriers
to metropolitan understanding about modern
Farm Day provides unique hands-on
experiences and insight, along with the ability
to answer all those "where does that come
from?" and "why do they do that?" questions --
dispelling myths in the process.
Farm day ran over 30-31 May this year,
attracting around 400 metropolitan families.
With many Australian farmers concerned
about the perception of their sector in
metropolitan mindsets, Farm Day is their
chance to be actively involved in turning
The NFF is pressing the case for modern
farming and is already getting results.
Independent market research shows that
metropolitan perceptions of farming have
improved dramatically. There is much greater
understanding and awareness of modern
farming as environmentally-friendly and
responsible, widespread recognition that
farmers "do things differently today" and that
the sector is ultra-efficient, technologically-
advanced and internationally-competitive.
But the NFF's research also shows there is a
gap in many people's understanding regarding
"what" modern farming is doing to achieve
these successes and "how". What better way
than to demonstrate it first-hand to people
during Farm Day?
The Farm Day theme is 'fun, friendship and
understanding' and farmers from all over
Australia should embrace the opportunity
to interact with city families and provide fun,
educational tours around their properties to
explain the inner workings of modern farming.
There are always loads of questions to
answer -- and not just from children. The
more farmers that take part, the greater
chance of correcting misunderstandings,
while also showing why Australian farmers
are renowned the world-over for their clean,
green, safe and high quality produce.
Survey results show that city people
leave farms with not only a greater
understanding of how modern Australian
farms operate, but more aware of the
role farming plays in their daily lives.
Museum of Australian Democracy
Over December 2008 -- March 2009,
NFF worked with curators for the new
Museum of Australian Democracy at
Old Parliament House in Canberra. The
exhibition features stories, items and
history of the leading voices influencing
Australian politics since federation in 1901.
The NFF seized upon this opportunity to
showcase the achievements of Australia's peak
farm body over its 30-year history, through
photographs, case studies of the issues
championed, video footage and memorabilia,
all donated by the NFF.
The exhibition will be permanently housed
at Old Parliament House for two years. It
was opened on 9 May 2009 by former Prime
Minister The Hon Bob Hawke AC.
This year marked the NFF's 30th anniversary,
opening its doors in 1979. The NFF decided not
to make a fuss about the milestone, especially
in the wake of its priority workload, with issues
being pursued across all portfolio areas taking
up all available resources.
Further, the NFF prefers to be for ward-looking
rather than revel in past deeds. As the new
NFF membership model proves, it's a case on
onward and upward.
That said, the launch of the inaugural
National Congress and Innovation in
Agriculture Awards in June 2009 is a fitting
tribute, acknowledging that the best
for Australian farmers still lies ahead.
The NFF won two Public Relations Institute of
Australia (PRIA) honours in 2008, under the ACT
'State Awards for Excellence' and subsequent
national 'Golden Target Awards' -- professional
peer recognition that the NFF's strategic
communications remain on track having won
the same Awards in 2007.
At the State Awards in September 2008,
Drought Preparedness in a Changing
Climate won the Gold Award in the Public
Affairs category for the NFF's campaign to
fundamentally change Australia's drought
policy by championing new 'drought
A generational policy shift, the NFF drove
a new vision for how Australia deals with
drought ahead of, throughout and following
the 2007 federal election leading up to the
2008 Federal Budget, gaining acceptance of,
and generating support for, better drought-
proofing farms in the context of a climate
adaptation and mitigation response.
The campaign secured Government
commitment to drought preparedness
measures and recognition of the NFF's new
direction for drought policy, beginning with
an initial $130 million outlay under the 2008
At the subsequent national 'Golden Target
Awards' in Fremantle last October, the NFF
went on to win the Highly Commended
Award, making its Drought Preparedness in a
Changing Climate the second highest ranked
Public Affairs campaign in Australia.
Put It All Together
This Public Affairs focus has generated
demonstrable achievements in creating
and maintaining an astute, strategic
communications program that delivers
political, media and community traction.
It has elevated the contribution and increasing
role of modern farming's importance to
mainstream Australia, challenged and mended
many negative perceptions of the sector and
netted the NFF new and growing revenue
streams -- engaging members and stakeholders
in a proactive value-adding way.
• Brett Hefernan is the NFF’s General Manager –
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