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!