NFF Blueprint written with a thumbnail dipped in tar

The NFF Blueprint is finally here and it’s a great document. I’ve only dedicated half an hour of speed reading to the report but, really, the report is so well laid out, you don’t need much more time than that to get the gist of it.

There are just seven themes: Innovation, Research, Development and Extension; Competitiveness; Trade and Market Access; People; Agriculture in Society; Natural Resources and Transformational Issues.

It’s big picture stuff and so high-level that it could be accused of having about the same level of meaning as most corporate mission statements. For example, there are three goals set for Agriculture and Society:

“Build better community understanding of and trust in agriculture”

“Improve credibility, cooperation and goodwill, including with activist groups”

“Develop coordinated and proactive approaches to communication”

All three are rated as high priority. The matching strategies are equally as broad and after reading the report, I have little idea of who, what or how these will be achieved.

I don’t think that’s a bad thing. As the NFF says:

“The launch of the final Blueprint report is not be (sic) the end of the road for the Blueprint. The Blueprint document will provide a starting point for the discussion of the key issues and for collaborative action on those issues that are shared across the sector.”

“The NFF will work with key stakeholders across the Australian agriculture sector and government to host a series of forums scheduled for 2013 onwards, designed to drive the Blueprint forward. These forums will develop specific strategies, assign responsibilities, provide resources and set timelines for the next stage of the Blueprint – the legacy phase.”

As it stands, the Blueprint is just a rough map written with a thumbnail dipped in tar. The legacy phase will be telling: can the NFF harness enough energy to make sure that once the rubber hits the road, we gain traction and will it be able to steer the course? It’s in everyone’s interests to make sure it does.

I’m not a member of the NFF but this report signals that Australian agriculture may be developing just the leadership farmers so desperately seek. You’ve won a fan!

8 thoughts on “NFF Blueprint written with a thumbnail dipped in tar

  1. “The legacy phase will be telling: can the NFF harness enough energy to make sure that once the rubber hits the road, we gain traction and will it be able to steer the course?”
    The only way such a ‘rough map’ will gain traction and provide agriculture in Australia with a stronger future is if we, the farmers engage, seek to understand, debate and work together. Now have a lead organisation with a clear path laid out, we need farmers to get behind NFF, democratically change what they don’t like and work as one. Not work as a series of splinter groups


        • Although not a fan of a floor price for milk, I feel a lot of sympathy for them. Plenty of farmers feel they weren’t being heard and are so desperate they want (and many need) to see immediate action. The UDV has not been ‘seen’ to be taking the fight up to our politicians.

          I think there’s a role for both approaches – the UDV to do the lobbying while Farmer Power demonstrates the strength of feeling among farmers. The two could be a very powerful political force.


  2. Marian, I think the NFF are saying the right things but, without being too negative, they have produced similar reports in the past that have come to nothing. The internecine warfare amongst commodity groups at a national level makes meaningful progress difficult but hey, I wish them all the best.

    Maybe a small gesture that the NFF could make to dairy farmers – don’t accept Coles or Woolies as principal sponsors until the milk price war ends. Last year Coles were the main sponsor of the NFF Conference. Woolies were a major sponsor of the blueprint mentioned in this post.


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