Before the team at National Farmers’ Federation’s (NFF) Australians Farmers site hung up their boots for 2018, they looked back at the year that was in ag.
Newly appointed Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud makes meeting with NFF a priority. The minister, president and chief executive discuss water, energy, land-use management, trade, labour and telecommunications.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership comes back from the dead with the remaining parties to the agreement, going forward without the US.
Team Australian Agriculture goes on a trade reconnaissance mission to the UK and EU to explore new opportunities for Australian agriculture post-Brexit.
With the Murray Darling Basin Plan under serious threat, parliamentary disagreement rages about effecting the required 450GL of “upwater”. The Greens flag their intention to vote against the crucial Northern Basin Review amendments, Labor teeters and NFF calls for the parliament to stay the course with the plan.
The first meeting of NFF Horticulture Council, representing Australia’s $11 billion production and ornamental sectors.
The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition descends on Canberra to call for action on telecommunications.
Government, members and agribusiness support NFF in the first Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program, designed to see more women in industry leadership roles.
NFF welcomes the government’s ag-specific review of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act.
At the Sydney Royal Easter Show, then-PM Malcolm Turnbull launches NFF’s Talking 2030 Discussion Paper, kicking off talks on how to achieve a farm gate output of $100 billion by 2030.
NFF’s 2018 Farm Workforce Survey finds two-thirds of those surveyed rated labour supply as among their top three challenges.
Farmers are horrified by footage aired by 60 Minutes of sheep suffering aboard a vessel bound for the Middle East. NFF demands change. Mr Littleproud’s “short, sharp” review of the Conditions of Northern Summer Exports (the McCarthy Review) is welcomed.
NFF urges the Council of Australian Governments to green-light progress on the National Energy Guarantee. It fails to deliver.
The Talking 2030 Roadshow kicks off in York, WA. In the next four months, NFF will host 19 roundtables for input from Australian agriculture’s best and brightest.
There’s bipartisan agreement for the Basin Plan’s continued implementation.
NFF president Fiona Simson joins farmers at an AgForce rally at Parliament House, Brisbane to protest unfair land management laws.
Eight women are chosen for NFF’s Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program; more than 120 applied. They attend a workshop at NFF headquarters and a luncheon at Parliament House.
A delegation from Sheep Producers Australia, WAFarmers and NFF meet with MPs and senators in Canberra calling for help to improve and retain our live sheep export industry.
NFF awards the government a B+ for the Federal Budget, giving top marks for investment in market access; biosecurity; and data collection on labour shortages. Marks are deducted for regional telecommunications.
The McCarthy Review is released, recommending sheep have up to 39 per cent more space and overall stocking densities be reduced by up to 28pc during northern summer months.
NFF welcomes the start of negotiations towards a free trade agreement with the EU.
Drought tightens its grip on the eastern seaboard. Mrs Simson joins Mr Turnbull, Mr Littleproud and other MPs on a NSW tour. NFF welcomes the one-year extension of the Farm Household Allowance.
NFF, Sheep Producers Australia and WAFarmers launch the Live Export Facts website.
NFF attends a ministerial drought meeting in Canberra with state farming groups and major rural lenders.
It welcomes the Federal Court’s decision on piecework provisions, which says the rate should be based on the productivity of a hypothetical “average competent worker”.
Eight talented, ag-focused people are selected for the 2030 Leaders Program.
NFF teams up with Channel 9 and Rotary Australia to create the 2018 Drought Relief Appeal and convenes a meeting of charities and other drought relief groups in Canberra.
The Turnbull government boosts its drought assistance package to $1.8 billion.
NFF lends its support to a joint statement by more than 20 industry groups and businesses, encouraging support for the NEG.
The drought appeal’s first $1 million goes to the CWA and Need for Feed – a Lions Club initiative.
New Prime Minister Scott Morrison makes drought his first priority, visiting drought-affected Qld.
Mrs Simson joins Mr Morrison in Jakarta for the signing of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
Mr Littleproud and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack express their support for NFF’s proposed Agricultural-specific Visa to help ease the farm sector’s labour woes. Australian Farmers launches a campaign to explain why we need an ag visa.
Australian Farmers launches the #QuadsforLife campaign on quad bike safety.
The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition welcomes the federal government’s announcement that it will soon identify location options for the next round of mobile black-spot funding.
On NFF’s advice, the PM acts to restore common sense to load dimensions across several states, to make carting hay across state borders easier.
Mrs Simson is interviewed by ABC’s Four Corners for its Monsanto Papers program looking at the safety and regulation of glyphosate.
NFF is asked to be part of the federal government’s Drought Finance Taskforce.
More than 300 delegates converge on the Australian Institute of Sport for NFF’s National Congress. The theme is Diversify. Mrs Simson launches NFF’s 2030 Roadmap, an outcome of Talking 2030.
NFF and members attend the drought summit in Canberra, which ends with an announcement of a $5 billion Future Drought Fund.
Mr Littleproud releases the findings of the Moss Review, examining the capability and culture of the live export regulator – the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
The TPP-11 is ratified by the Australian Parliament, giving farmers a double tariff cut.
NFF advocacy achieves change in the Seasonal Workers Program and Working Holiday Visa to ensure they are better structured to ease labour woes.
The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition welcomes NBN plans to make browsing, email and software updates exempt from Sky Muster data meterage.
For National Agriculture Day, NFF hosts “activations” in Sydney and Melbourne CBDs, the AgDay photo competition and the National Agriculture Day Poll. More than 2 million social media accounts are reached.
Labor announces its plan for Australia’s energy market. NFF shares concern at the targets.
Mrs Simson and NFF trade and economics general manager Pru Gordon go on a trade mission to the UK and EU, and meet with key people and groups. Mrs Simson takes part in the Australia EU Leadership Forum.
WAFarmers President Tony York joins NFF’s board of directors. Cattle Council President Tony Hegarty is also re-elected.
NFF and the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition welcomes the focus on the maintenance of the Universal Service Obligation for landlines; increased and smart data meterage and more work on digital literacy and inclusion
Mrs Simson expresses disappointment at COAG’s failure to progress a National Drought Policy.
There’s a breakthrough for the Murray Darling Basin as water ministers endorse focusing on the socio-economic impact of “upwater” measures.
The drought fund has dispersed $7.9 million to reputable charities and drought support programs. A total of $10 million has been raised. The remaining $2 million will be disbursed early in 2019.