IF FARMERS are unhappy about the direction of the National Farmers' Federation they "should get in there and change them".
That's according to NFF president Jock Laurie, in response to the rapid rise of dairy lobby group Farmer Power.
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Mr Laurie said there was "some merit" in the idea of a new agriculture political party proposed by NSW wool grower Chick Olsson.
But he questioned such a party's ability to be effective.
Mr Laurie said Farmer Power's rise was "not a sign the state farmer organisation system was broken" but showed farmers who were unhappy with the direction of some groups needed to get involved in policy making.
Mr Laurie said he understood farmers - who tended to be independent and self-reliant - could be frustrated by how slow the lobbying process was.
"Policy and lobbying take a long time, you need to be able to get everyone in your commodity to agree first, and then take it to a national level, and then to convince all of those people that you're right and that you represent a whole of industry stance before you can get that policy adopted," he said.
Mr Laurie said farmers were the members and "owners" of the state farmer organisations and the NFF.
"I've suggested to groups like Farmer Power that they use the structure that's there.
"The system is there to get their voices heard, they don't need to change that, what they want changed is the policy at the end of the day, so get involved (with the lobby groups).
"Farmers (members) are the ones who set the policy for the NFF, if people want to change the NFF, get involved with the NFF, put forward ideas."
Farmer Power spokesman Chris Gleeson said representative bodies such as the United Dairyfarmers' of Victoria had been made "well aware" of the dire consequence of low milk prices for "many months".
"They chose not to do anything," Mr Gleeson said. "These groups, like NFF, need to open their eyes to what's happening to grassroots farmers, not blame them.
"The first thing they (NFF) have to do is admit there is a problem. What we really need is assistance from government to help these farmers survive in the next three months, they're going to be in serious trouble."
Meanwhile, Mr Laurie said the idea of a new political party, focused just on agriculture, would be "very difficult" and "take a very long time".
But Mr Laurie said the Greens had started out as a lobby group, and had been able to influence national policy debate.
"So, it is possible," he said.