ON THE WAY UP: New National Farmers Federation president Brent Finlay during his days with AgForce in Queensland. With him are then AgForce CEO Robert Walker and Scott Finlay, Cooinda, Stanthorpe.
ON THE WAY UP: New National Farmers Federation president Brent Finlay during his days with AgForce in Queensland. With him are then AgForce CEO Robert Walker and Scott Finlay, Cooinda, Stanthorpe. Toni Somes

New NFF boss has confidence in farming

BRENT Finlay was never prepared to sit back and whinge about how bad things were on the land.

He always had the view if you wanted things to change, you had to put up your hand and fight for the things you believed in.

And in the seven years since he first walked into an AgForce meeting to see what he could do, that is exactly what he has done.

That attitude and determination to affect change from "inside the tent" led to his election to president of the nation's peak farming body, the National Farmers Federation, this week.

With the NFF's new deputy, Queensland beef producer Christine Rolfe, and new Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, it makes a strong Queensland presence in agricultural policy development.

"I'm passionate about rural and regional Australia, Queensland, my own district and being involved, and I guess it's just led me through to where I am now," he said.

"You obviously gain a few skills and some knowledge along the way and I'll be trying to return that to industry."

He said the main problem facing agriculture was issues around profitability.

"Market access is one," he said.

"We need access to as many markets as we can. Also, costs are killing agriculture. There are costs right through our supply chain. There are some we can't do anything about but there are others where we can."

He said there were also issues around infrastructure inefficiencies and taxation, and the NFF would work with government in its review of the tax system next year.

But he was confident the NFF would have the ears of the new government - with Warren Truss as deputy prime minister, Mr Joyce as agriculture minister and former NFF executive director and current Trade Minister, Andrew Robb, in senior government positions - it had perhaps the best representation of rural interests in Cabinet the nation had seen.

The downside, however, was that with increasing NFF commitments, he would be unlikely to see much of his Darling Downs property over the next 12 months.



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