Another year, another controversy it could have done without for the Grain Growers Association.
Optimism prevailed earlier in the year that after a tumultuous period, the organisation could finally get on with providing an important role in the grains industry – however it appears that politicking has won out once again.
The GGA is in a unique position among Australia's grain-based farmer organisations in that it is in a healthy financial position and has the resources to undertake 'big picture' work out of reach of the state-farm organisations.
With a strategic review to come out in the next few weeks, the scope was there for the GGA to liaise with the grower groups and facilitate work that could have strong positive outcomes for grain producers.
However, blood-letting like the axing of Dan Mangelsdorf from the chairman's position is going to leave the wider grains industry weary of working with such an unstable partner.
The issue at hand is not the merits of Mr Mangelsdorf as chairman versus new man John Eastburn, but more the manner and the motivation behind Mr Mangelsdorf's exit.
Several grains industry sources have claimed they had heard the reason for the board decision to axe Mr Mangelsdorf was due to a fit of pique that he had been annointed by GrainCorp powerbrokers as the chosen GGA representative on the GrainCorp board.
The story goes that two directors were annoyed with this and decided it was time for tit-for-tat, engaged another two directors and proceeded to oust Mr Mangelsdorf, under the guise of a perceived conflict of interest.
Should such a story be true, it is a fearful abrogation of duty to jeopardise the standing of the business, valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars, that they represent for petty personal politics.
While not commenting on the validity of these claims, the fact that such a story is even doing the rounds and is considered a serious option by reliable sources, reflects poorly on the directors.
The fact no rationale has been given for Mr Mangelsdorf's exit also does nothing to hose down speculation.
The rumours surrounding the board coup are symptomatic of a parochialism among the GGA that has long been the source of frustration among GGA members outside its heartland of NSW.
GGA members in Victoria have expressed concern that long-held feuds, grudges and alliances among key NSW powerbrokers are having a negative effect on the organisation as a whole and that decisions are being made for the wrong reasons.
This latest GGA needs to be considered in the scope of farmer representation as a whole. Both Grains Council and the National Farmers Federation are coming off tough periods and are looking to rebuild some authority, while state farmer organisations are battling declining memberships and coffers.
The GGA is positioned in a strong spot to be a real source of leadership for grain farmers, and although there is no reason it cannot do this with a different chairman at the helm, spontaneous blood-letting for no acknowledged reason does little to strengthen its position.