NSW Farmers advocates for a profitable and sustainable NSW farming sector
NSW Farmers is Australia’s largest state farming organisation, representing the interests of its farmer members in the state. We are Australia’s only state-based farming organisation that represents farmers across all agricultural commodities. We also speak up on issues that matter to farmers, whether it’s the environment, biosecurity, water, animal welfare, economics, trade, or rural and regional affairs.
Agriculture is an economic ‘engine’ industry in New South Wales. Farmers across the state produce more than $17 billion worth of food and fibre every year, or around 25 per cent of total national production, and contribute significantly to the state’s total exports. Agriculture is the heartbeat of regional communities, directly employing almost two per cent of the state’s workers and supporting roles in processing, manufacturing, retail, and hospitality across regional and metropolitan areas. The sector hopes to grow this contribution even further by working toward the target of $30 billion in economic output by 2030.
We have teams working across regional New South Wales and in Sydney to ensure key policies and messages travel from paddock to Parliament. Our regional branch network ensures local voices guide and shape our positions on issues affecting real people in real communities. Our Branch members bring policy ideas to Annual Conference, our Advisory Committees provide specialist, practical advice to decision makers on issues affecting the sector, and our 60-member Executive Council makes the final decision on the policies we advocate on.
As well as advocating for farmers on issues that shape agriculture and regional areas, we provide direct business support and advice to our members. Our workplace relations team has a history of providing tailored, affordable business advice that can save our members thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, we maintain partnerships and alliances with like-minded organisations, universities, government agencies and commercial businesses across Australia. We are also a proud founding member of the National Farmers’ Federation.
A proud history
In its various incarnations, NSW Farmers has supported the farmers of the state since the 1800s.
One of NSW Farmers’ predecessors, The Pastoralists' Union of NSW, was formed in 1890 to counter an attempt by the Shearers Union to enforce a ‘closed shop’ in shearing sheds meaning that farmers would be forced to only hire Shearers Union members. The Pastoralists’ success in this famous industrial dispute was to be the start of a range of farming industrial bodies, each with proud histories and long lists of achievements.
In 1916, the Pastoralists’ Union of NSW changed its name to the Graziers’ Association of NSW.
NSW Farmers as we know it today was formed in 1978 as the Livestock and Grain Producers’ Association of NSW (LGPA NSW) by the amalgamation of the Graziers’ Association of NSW, the Farmers’ and Settlers’ Association, and the Riverina Graziers’ Association. A strong, unified voice for agriculture in NSW was formed. Individually, these organisations fought for rural industries and country people. They helped overcome the problems of isolation, poor communication, the transport and handling of produce, union militancy, and the challenges of climate. They identified the need for unity among small producers if they were to be fairly treated in the marketplace, before the industrial courts, and in the political process.
In January 1987, the NSW Farmers’ Association was given its current name.
NSW Farmers continues to grow and represent the needs of an ever changing agriculture industry. Between 1995 and 2002, NSW Farmers added oyster growers, chicken growers, dairy farmers, and pork producers to its broad advocacy remit.