The Federated Farmers provincial AGM ‘season’ is coming to a close and in our 24 provinces around New Zealand a new crop of elected members will step into roles on their local executive. One of their tasks will be to get up to speed on Federated Farmers’ thinking and policy positions on a wide range of issues.
And that’s where a new initiative, dubbed ‘public one-pagers’ by the team putting them together, can help.
One of the staff CFTs (cross functional teams) put together by CEO Terry Copeland decided it would be worthwhile to survey North Island provincial executives to ask about any gaps in current support. A common theme to responses was that the busy farmers who serve as elected leaders – both the experienced ones and newbies – would be keen for easily accessible summaries of Federated Farmers’ actions and policies, so that when faced with a question from a member, or needing to front a meeting or media enquiry, they had core information at their fingertips.
“Feds has a lot of policy grunt, with a big team, and we’re across a very wide range of issues,” CFT3 leader and Feds Senior Policy Advisor Nigel Billings said. “When you’re elected to a province’s executive there’s an anticipation you’ll be across all these things but no one person – especially one also running a busy farming business – can be.”
The upshot was that the CFT3 group decided to summarise key information in succinct ‘one pagers’ that would be loaded to the Federation’s website, and thus easily accessible by everyone – including journalists writing articles.
One-pagers on working dogs and rural security are complete and will be uploaded within the next month. The team has identified as many as 40 other topics to be covered – everything from dam safety regulations to wetland restrictions and solar farms.
“With some topics, such as climate change, we’ll need to get more granular with them,” Nigel said.
“So for example we might have separate one pagers on topics such as carbon farming, the Emissions Trade Scheme, the government’s methane reduction target, and so on.
“Even Oscar Wilde would struggle to adequately cover climate change in 450 words on one page.”
The one-pagers will also be a useful tool our Field Representatives out and about in the regions and calling in on members and prospective members.
Another Senior Policy Advisor and CFT3 member Jacob Haronga is writing the content for some of the one-pagers and said that while they are accessible to everyone, a range of more detailed ‘Fact Sheets’ are behind the Federated Farmers website paywall. They’re part of the range of services offered to farmers who support the Feds’ ongoing policy and advocacy work by paying a subscription.
“They’ve got very specific advice on how a farmer can respond to a regulation or a public policy issue. Given the time and the expertise that goes into putting these Fact Sheets together, we make them exclusive to members,” Jacob said.
“For example, there are Fact Sheets on electricity transmission lines and telecommunications towers, with advice on what to do if a company wants access to your property, is instituting compulsory acquisition, what your rights are if public infrastructure is to be laid across your land, and so on.”
With new regulations covering drinking water and small suppliers, Federated Farmers will be releasing relevant Fact Sheets in advance of registration dates.
“The beauty of those is that they’ll save farmers and landowners from wading through piles and piles of material trying to determine what’s right for their particular scheme,” Nigel said.
Federated Farmers members can also access legal advice by calling 0800FARMING.
“From next month we’ll steadily roll out the full suite of one-pagers and respond to new topics and regulations with additional one-pagers, or Fact Sheets, as the need arises,” Nigel said.