I love being a Federated Farmers field officer, but sometimes on my travels between the Waimakariri and Waitaki rivers, I think "myth buster" would be a better job title.
I hear many misconceptions about Federated Farmers, usually prefaced with "I'm not joining because":
1. Federated Farmers is levy funded, so I don't need to pay
2. I am not paying until everyone else in my district pays. Why should I pay for them?
3. Subscriptions are too expensive
4. I don't have time to attend meetings
5. It is too radical!
6. It is not radical enough!
7. I am doing quite fine by myself.
All of these are easily busted.
1 and 2. Federated Farmers is not levy funded. It is supported by farmers' voluntary subscriptions to be an advocacy organisation, working for seven industry sectors at nationally and regionally.
3. We agree; all farmers should be members. In the meantime, as a group of farmers working for farmers, the Federation relies on all the support it can get.
4. There are various subscription rates, starting from just $100 a year for associate members and employees. Talk to your local field officer about which is right for you.
5. Meetings are not compulsory. You can choose how much or little active involvement you have.
6. Given central and local government's convoluted processes, it is imperative farmers are present at the negotiating table. Federated Farmers is a respected contributor to decisions. It is about being there, not being radical.
7. To those who say we aren't radical enough, the Federation has a long list of wins which means farming remains sustainable and profitable.
8. New Zealand has 30,000 farmers versus three million voters. By banding together farmers have greater resources to make sure rural issues are not overlooked.
Your membership means the Federation can continue its successful advocacy work done.
■ If you have any questions or wish to join the Federation call us on 0800 327 646.