NFF elects first female president

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NFF president Fiona Simson Fiona Simson has become the first female president of the NFF NFF president Fiona Simson

New South Wales farmer Fiona Simson has been elected the new president of the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) at this year’s NFF Annual General Meeting.

Simson runs a mixed farming enterprise on the Liverpool Plains with her family, breeding Hereford cattle and broadacre farming.

She was previously the NFF vice president for 2 years and has been a Director since 2011.

"It is an honour and privilege to represent Australian farmers at the national level and to be elected as the NFF’s first female president," Simson says.

"To me, it’s a great acknowledgement that women contribute tremendously on farm, along the value chain and increasingly as thought leaders and public advocates for agriculture.

"My focus will be on developing and advocating for policy that makes farmers better off – not just in terms of what they produce but also reaping the rewards of any increases in value along the food and fibre supply chain. 

"I also want to make sure that farmers, producers and rural and regional based agribusinesses have access to communications technology that gets them better connected to their customers and allows them to reach out to global markets.

Simson adds that the NFF has a big agenda for the future of agriculture.

"Issues such as transport infrastructure, digital connectivity, tax reform, Australia’s energy mix, sustainable development and trade reform will all be issues high on my agenda as President.

"To achieve this agenda, I will be focusing on strengthening the NFF’s capacity to provide a strong and united voice and be the sector’s leader in addressing industry challenges and creating opportunities in the new economy."

Ms Simson paid tribute to outgoing President Brent Finlay who has served in the role for three years and been a NFF Director since 2010.

"Brent has aggressively pursued policy outcomes that deliver a more productive, competitive and prosperous sector. 

"He has put the needs of farmers front and centre in arguing for bold reforms to trade and the economy.

"In all facets of the role as president, Brent leaves an enormous legacy of achievements and a strong vision that I will pursue with as much vigour and determination."

Two new board directors have also been elected – NSW grain grower and president of Grain Growers Limited John Eastburn and NSW Farmers executive councilor and cattle producer Tony Hegarty. 

They join three directors who were re-elected to their positions – current VFF president, mixed cropping and prime lamb producer David Jockinke, Queensland cattle producer and AgForce president Grant Maudsley and sheep and cattle producer and vice president of NSW Farmers Mark Horan.

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