The Agriculture Minister was surprised the sector's peak industry body launched a campaign against the Albanese government - a move he labelled "just politics" - but vowed his door would remain open despite the disagreement.
The national campaign, Keep Farmers Farming, will focus on several "anti-farming policies" such as water buybacks, the proposed live sheep export ban, along with the upcoming debates around environment laws, transmission lines and competition policy.
In an address to the NFF national conference, Agriculture Minister Murray Watt politely pushed back against claims "food and fibre production is not a central priority", that Labor was pursuing "a niche ideological agenda" and that "Labor is wilfully ignorant of the plight of farmers".
"I have to say, it felt like a 'central priority', each time we delivered nearly $3 billion in extra funding for agriculture since taking office, despite a tight fiscal environment," Senator Watt said.
"It didn't feel like we were pursuing a 'niche ideological agenda' when we delivered the restoration of trade with our biggest agricultural trading partner.
"It didn't feel like 'wilful ignorance' of farmers, when the Prime Minister personally raised live cattle trade disruptions with Indonesia in his recent meeting with President Widodo - disruptions that were lifted hours later."
Senator Watt also backed his government record on biosecurity, trade and tackling the industry's skill shortage.
"I was a little surprised to learn the NFF wants to run a campaign against a government that has delivered," he said.
"But I guess that's just politics, but I do think that both government and industry can do better."
The Minister acknowledged the industry disagreed with the policies to phase out the live sheep export phase out and deliver the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in full. However, he said those were election promises that the government would not stray from.
"Last time I looked, people generally expect their governments to deliver election commitments and that's what we're doing," he said.
Despite the tension, Senator Watt wasn't worried about the long-term relationship with the sector's peak body, and his door would always remain open.
"Just like you have good and bad seasons, relationships between governments and political lobby groups will have their ups and downs," he said.
"I know we'll achieve a lot more for this sector if we campaign with each other, rather than against each other."
NFF chief executive Tony Mahar praised Senator Watt for attending the conference in light of the campaign.
"There are many issues the Minister controls and many he does not - but what he has continually demonstrated is his willingness to turn up, be upfront and engage," Mr Mahar said.
"The Minister has demonstrated his ability to bang the table in Cabinet and we ask him to continue doing that."
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