National agribusiness company Ruralco has joined the National Farmers Federation as a full associate member.
The move gives Ruralco a full vote on the NFF board alongside its existing member organisations, which include State Farm Organisations and national commodity representative groups.
Annual membership fees for full associate members are negotiated with the NFF, but have a minimum cost of $40,000 plus GST a year.
In a press release issued yesterday NFF CEO Matt Linnegar said Ruralco’s addition enhanced the NFF’s strength as the united voice for Australian farmers and the broader farm sector, including agribusiness.
“Today, with Ruralco joining the 24 NFF member organisations at the decision-making table, the NFF stands as a powerful voice for the agricultural sector,” Mr Linnegar said.
“Ruralco’s input to the NFF strengthens our insight and involvement in the many issues that affect agriculture, and ultimately, all Australian farm businesses. We are very pleased to welcome Ruralco on board.”
Ruralco operates more than 40 specialist businesses across Australia in the merchandise, fertiliser, seed, wool, livestock, real estate, risk management, water, grain, finance and insurance sectors. It has 500 individual outlets and employs 1500 staff.
Ruralco managing director John Maher said the company has been providing goods, services and advice to the farmers NFF represents for many years.
“From today, we are now also providing this advice as an NFF member. Ruralco will contribute to debates on the major issues facing the agricultural sector: everything from the carbon tax to global trade reform.
“We look forward to contributing to the Blueprint for Australian Agriculture. We will be encouraging our clients, our executive and our staff to have their say on the future of the farming sector and the supply chain as part of this important initiative; just as all within the agricultural sector and the supply chain have been encouraged to take part.
“Becoming an NFF member is both an opportunity and a responsibility. Issues that affect the business environment for farmers and agriculture as a whole affect our business. Decisions made in Canberra have a significant impact on our commercial operations.
“We look forward to gaining a broader perspective of farming, agribusiness and all issues facing our sector, including government policy and legislation, from the NFF – and to playing our part around the NFF table,” Mr Maher said.
The NFF underwent a comprehensive membership restructure in 2008-09, which resulted in the creation of the associate member category.
NFF yesterday said the creation of the new membership category was seen as an opportunity for agriculture to grow its influence collectively.
An NFF spokesperson said the move recognised that the issues facing farmers are increasingly national, and their impacts felt across the entire sector, including agribusiness.
“Creating the associate member category provides the opportunity for agriculture as a whole to show strength, unity and collaboration – and to speak with one voice: something that itself is becoming increasingly important to ensure agriculture continues to be heard,” the spokesperson said.
They added that associate member category collectively cannot hold more than 40 percent of the NFF vote, which ensured that farmers always continued to have the most influence at the NFF table.
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