4 Feb 2014

FF well placed for changes

6:28 am on 4 February 2014

Federated Farmers has enough depth to handle the personnel changes it is facing this year, says president Bruce Wills.

Mr Wills and several other farmer representatives on the federation's national board will be stepping down in July this year at the end of their three-year terms.

And on Monday, chief executive Conor English's announced he would also be leaving in July.

"No question, 2014 is a bit of a year of change at the top for Federated Farmers but what we have got is a lot of depth throughout our organisation," Mr Wills said.

"These sort of plans and discussions have been going on for some time regarding board changes and the like."

Mr English, who will leave after six years as chief executive, sees plenty of challenges ahead for the national farmer body.

However, the biggest ongoing issue would be water management.

"It's the biggest reform we've seen in the water space for probably about 100 years. The changes are very signficant and I think they've been underestimated by the wider population and also by the farming population," he said.

"That's the number one issue right now. That's the number one risk that we're trying to work through and manage."