The National Farmers’ Federation has kicked off a significant project which will deliver insights and tools that will help farmers better manage risk.
The NFF is partnering with the NSW Government on a project aimed at improving the financial risk management options available to Australian farmers to assist them to manage drought, natural disasters and a range of other risks. The project is multi-commodity and national in focus.
NFF President Fiona Simson said risk was a challenge the industry was yet to fully master and this series of investigations would allow the industry to come together and determine what was going to help and how the industry could work collaboratively with government to make a difference.
“We are working closely with our members, including AgForce, NSW Farmers, GrainGrowers and Primary Producers South Australia to examine realistic options for managing on-farm risk,” NFF President Fiona Simson said.
“Farmers are central to the success of this endeavour. In recognition of this fact, farmer reference groups have been established that will act as a source of information and a sounding board for ideas. These groups will also serve to ground-truth findings and recommendations.”
To supplement the feedback from these groups, a tailor-made, nation-wide survey will be distributed to farmers, consultants and others interested in risk, providing them with an opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences on tools currently available and opportunities for improvement.
“I encourage all those with an interest in or experience with farm risk management tools to get involved in this project. We firmly believe that collaboration will produce an outcome with lasting, material benefits for farmers across the country,” Ms Simson said.
The project examines in detail the following six topics:
- Commercial and government-subsidised insurance options;
- Forward contracts, futures, options and swap markets and associated product options;
- Mutuals and co-operatives;
- Awareness and education of financial risk management options;
- Off-farm income and assets; and
- Other government risk management measures.
The NFF has commissioned six sub-project teams to provide research, analysis and recommendations on these topics.
The teams include experts in farm business management, commercial financial risk management products, agricultural research, strategy, economics and government policy.
Each project will examine existing arrangements in Australia, including their strengths and weaknesses. The projects will look at overseas examples and assess whether lessons learnt in other countries could be applied in Australia.
A scan of existing and new options for improving or expanding financial risk management tools and products available to Australian farmers will also be carried out. The sub-project teams will consider both commercial products and government measures and policies.
A final report incorporating each sub-project report’s findings and recommendations will be presented to the NSW Government on 30 October 2020.