Mullaley farmer Xavier Martin is the new leader of Australia’s largest state farming organisation.
Mr Martin was elected president of NSW Farmers on the first day of the organisation’s annual conference and thanked members for their support.
“It is humbling to be elected president, and I look forward to maintaining momentum on key issues such as biosecurity and productivity,” Mr. Martin said.
“We are looking for ways to secure the future of agriculture, and a big part of that is giving members a voice at our conference.
“I look forward to seeing the outcome of these motions and working to move these issues forward with policymakers and industry groups.”
Mr Martin previously served as vice-chairman of NSW Farmers and led efforts to secure government support during the plague of mice.
Mr. Martin takes the reins of former President James Jackson’s state-of-the-art agricultural body of Guyra.
In his outgoing remarks, Mr Jackson said there was a big future ahead of Australian agriculture if governments and the public supported the vital sector.
Mr Jackson reflected on his time in the role and identified a key challenge for the sector.
“Australia, as a nation, is lagging behind on support for farmers, with a government food security document this week revealing that we have one of the lowest levels of agricultural support among the 37 member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – and when relative to major emerging economies,” Jackson said.
“Australians have seen firsthand the impact of natural disasters and supply chain failures on food security this year, and we need to focus on agriculture.
“Our farmers grow the food we eat every day and produce cotton and wool to clothe us, but we as a nation still underestimate the important role of agriculture.”
Mr Jackson said the impact of this historic government disinterest in agriculture is playing out in the current biosecurity debate, with the Varroa mite affecting our bees and foot-and-mouth disease on our doorstep.
“Being able to feed and clothe themselves is a basic human need, but our farmers are facing it with government policies that act as a handbrake on the sector.
“The fact that we are so productive despite our difficult climate and all the bureaucracy we face is proof that Australian farmers could make an even bigger contribution if they were allowed to.
“I’ve been saying for years that governments need to step aside and unleash the beast, and let us do what we do best – grow world-class food and fiber.”
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