Force for good in farming
TAKING on the role of AgForce general president brings with it a great sense of responsibility.
I’ve had a long involvement with AgForce and married into a family steeped in the traditions of agri-representation, so I know how important it is to have an organisation that stands up strongly for farmers.
It’s been rewarding to have played my part in recent years to help improve AgForce’s governance and organisational structure to ensure we operate as effectively as possible to serve our members.
AgForce has also put in place a clear strategic plan to guide our future direction with a clear purpose to “advance sustainable agribusiness”.
As the new AgForce general president, I’m very conscious that the new board I lead over the next two years stands on the shoulders of those who have come before us, that we benefit from the wisdom of others and that we can’t do it all on our own.
It’s so powerful to have grassroots producers coming up with solutions they think will work for them, both at the local and whole of industry level. That’s what feeds the policy process at AgForce, and we are grateful for all the support and input we receive from both individual members and elected representatives.
Over the past two years, AgForce has shown real courage in our leadership and we won’t step back from that.
A key focus for me will be to keep working hard to build trust in agriculture.
There is no doubt consumers trust farmers and trust what we produce, but we need to keep building trust and understanding about how and what we need to do to produce great food and fibre.
I also believe it is critical to look after and support our people.
None of what we do happens without people.
Crops don’t harvest themselves, cattle don’t muster themselves, sheep don’t shear themselves.
We need to support our people on the land to ensure they are there for the long term, to maintain connections, to ensure they are physically and mentally healthy and to recognise their important role in the community.
With our industry facing ever-increasing regulations, we will be looking to do what we can to help our members to keep operating profitability and sustainably in this environment, and to ensure changes deliver benefits for our industry rather than negatives.
How farmers are rewarded for the valuable ‘natural capital’ assets we look after for the entire community will also be a crucial issue moving forward.
The work being done by AgForce and NAB to analyse the link between management practices, long-term land conditions and financial performance is extremely important, as is the work being done nationally to define and showcase sustainable beef production.
It promises to be an exciting but challenging two years in agriculture, and I’m looking forward to doing my bit to represent farmers’ interests, supporting our people and increasing community understanding of the importance of agribusiness.
IMPORTANT ROLE: Georgie Somerset, a Queensland beef producer and rural leader, is the new AgForce general president.