3 Jul 2011

Federated Farmers conference begins

6:45 am on 3 July 2011

Federated Farmers has begun its annual conference in Rotorua, with about 400 members likely to attend over the next few days.

Politicians feature strongly on the agenda, with acting prime minister Bill English and the leaders of the Labour, ACT and Green parties speaking on Thursday afternoon.

Outgoing president Don Nicolson will give his final formal address.

The election of the new president will take place on Friday, with four candidates vying for the position: Donald Aubrey, Frank Brenmuhl, Lachlan McKenzie and Bruce Wills.

Meanwhile, the organisation's new dairy and meat and fibre leaders are not underestimating the challenges ahead for their sectors, despite an income boost in the past year.

Canterbury dairy farmer Willy Leferink has replaced Mr McKenzie as national dairy chair.

Sheep and beef farmer Jeanette Maxwell, also from Canterbury, is the new meat and fibre chair, replacing Mr Wills. She's the first woman to head the section.

Whakatane farmer Robin Barkla and Manawatu's Andrew Hoggard are the dairy section's vice-chairs.

Ciaran Tully from Thames returns as the sharemilkers' chair, while Dugald McLean of Kaipoi is the new vice-chair of meat and fibre.