A trailblazer's legacy: Results driven NFF President leaves her mark

02 August 2023

A trailblazer's legacy: Results-driven NFF President leaves her mark

In October this year, Fiona Simson will retire from the position of National Farmers' Federation (NFF) President, after seven years in the job. Prior to that she served as the President of NSW Farmers for four years where she started to gain a taste for advocacy in agriculture more broadly.

Fiona's background in farming and advocacy, coupled with her significant qualifications, have been instrumental in her success as the NFF President, leaving an indelible mark on the Australian agricultural landscape.

Integral to Fiona’s leadership is her calm, rational and fair approach to conversations where the listening is on equal footing to the talking. She is persistent in her quest to achieve positive outcomes for agriculture, and regional Australia, making sure the sector is consulted when new policies, challenges and opportunities arise.

Fiona has helped facilitate a shift in how agriculture is viewed and considered, going from a pariah or an afterthought in Federal policy discussions to being at the policy table and listened to.

Fiona was a key driver in developing the “2030 Roadmap” agriculture’s bold vision to be a $100 billion industry by 2030. She was also integral to this vision being adopted by the entire industry and government, no small feat and one that has elevated agriculture’s status as a continuing important economic driver in Australia.

Fiona’s drive and ability to bring people together is unparalleled, including the re-enlisting of TFGA into the ranks of the NFF. Her collaborative and enthusiastic approach has seen the agricultural sector come together and harness our resources effectively across the States and Territories.

When Fiona came to the helm, she was the first female president in the NFF’s history, a situation she was happy to disrupt. She saw how invisible women had been around boardroom tables and in senior ranks and she has made it her mission to change that.

This started with the NFF setting a goal to double the number of women in agriculture’s leadership ranks by 2030, which saw the Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program come to life. The program’s alumni have gone on to be changemakers in agriculture, but importantly it has also been embraced by agricultural businesses and organisations.

As we are soon to bid farewell to Fiona Simson's tenure as the NFF President, it is important to recognise the lasting impact she has had on the farming community and the entire nation.

Her vision, passion, and determination have led the agricultural sector through many difficulties and have set the stage for a prosperous and sustainable future. Fiona's contributions will continue to resonate for years to come, inspiring generations of farmers and leaders to follow in her footsteps.

The Australian farming community owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Fiona. Her legacy will forever be etched into Australian agricultural history. As we look toward the future we should carry forward her vision, fostering a united and progressive agricultural sector that thrives on inclusivity, diversity, and innovation.

Thank you, Fiona, for your exemplary leadership and dedication to rural and regional Australia.