[14 May/Farmers Weekly]

Federated Farmers Auckland President Andrew Maclean reports that the increasing public profile of farming and misconceptions about it are one of the biggest challenges farm leaders face. Mr Maclean sees moves to change the profile of farmers and the industry but thinks that more young and energetic people need to be placed in farmer organisation to run this front. This includes younger members on executive boards to help with succession and organisation membership. Farming, with annual growth cycles, presents a specific challenge because it can’t change quickly, like a manufacturing plant can. Mr Maclean believes the Government is beginning to see that behind 75% of the country’s exports are thousands of rural communities that support farmers and farm employees and they need support that might be different to urban communities.