VFF moves to pull out of peak sheep and wool bodies

Sheep Central, June 5, 2024

A VICTORIAN Farmers Federation’s decision to cease its national peak commodity group memberships, including WoolProducers Australia and Sheep Producers Australia, is not expected to immediately affect the makeup of the groups’ boards.

VFF members were told this week its board has decided to “cease our membership or provide notice of resignation where required” to SPA, WPA, Cattle Australia, the Goat Industry Council of Australia, the NFF Horticulture Council and Australian Dairy Farmers.

The notice to VFF members said the cost of the combined memberships to national agricultural advocacy amounted to close to $700,000 each year.

WoolProducers president and Victorian wool grower Steve Harrison said he recognised the NFF and VFF membership models were “broken” but the VFF board decision would not change the makeup of the WPA board “at this stage.”

However, Mr Harrison said the timing of VFF president Emma Germano and the board in making this decision is not right.

Mr Harrison said he is an independent board member of WPA, and the VFF delegate on WoolProducers Bradley Venning, also would not be affected by the VFF board decision for at least another 12 months.

Sheep Central was told the VFF position will not affect the makeup of the Sheep Producers Australia board.

“The VFFs decision to give notice to resign came out of the blue but is not surprising given the membership issue.
“We will continue to work with our members and other ag representative bodies to find a way forward.”

SPA chair Andrew Spencer said Sheep Producers Australia works daily to ensure a productive and profitable national sheep meat industry.

“Our role is to advocate for a sustainable and profitable future for the Australian sheep industry.

This is achieved through Sheep Producers Australia’s policy council and board, working with our members, service providers, government, and many other partners,” he said.

“We will be working hard to ensure that Victorian sheep farmers continue to have a strong and relevant input into the critical national sheep meat policy issues.”

The VFF membership notice went on to state that the VFF board is concerned the national agricultural advocacy model is fundamentally broken.

“We will not force Victorian farmers to continue funding as unsustainable and ineffective model that delivers duplication and fails to meet the needs of Victorian agriculture.

“Furthermore, the cost to the VFF in many cases is much higher than the contribution made by other organisations,” the notice said.

“It is patently unfair to expect our members to carry this burden when others do not contribute their fair share.


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  1. Peter Small, June 5, 2024

    The VFF management/leadership team clearly do not know what they are doing. They have only one honorable thing they can do. Before resigning en masse they should put in place arrangements for new elections for all positions. The way the leadership team is going they will fritter away the members’ only substantial asset; Farrer House. it was purchased by prudent leaders and funded almost 100 percent by Mallee and Wimmera wheat growers, at a time when conditions were very tough. The impudence of the current team beggars belief.

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