By RACHAEL OXBORROW
WA growers would see their sustainability put first under a re-elected District 2 director Derek Clauson, the Trayning grower said.
Mr Clauson has served one three-year term and has pledged to strengthen the co-operative if re-elected.
"I believe CBH's core business of storage and handling, rail transport assets and port facilities must remain a non-distributing co-operative," he said.
"CBH should be generating the maximum possible value for growers on a year-by-year basis.
"Some of the non-core subsidiaries and investments may be of greater value to members if they were held in an entity where members have direct equity and choice of participation."
Mr Clauson said he was committed to a network strategy with a rail outcome, equality of access despite location and increased grain volume to port during important windows.
"We must get our grain to port in the most efficient and cost effective way possible," he said.
"To give us a chance in the international market with sea freight rates being as low as they are, distance is no longer the advantage that it was.
"The emerging Black Sea producers are becoming a real threat to Australian producers.
"Their quality is continuing to improve so they're heading toward competing with us on a pure cost basis rather than a quality differential basis and that means we have to get our act into gear."
Mr Clauson said work during his first term on reviewing the network was beginning to come to fruition and he wants to follow it through.
"I think the storage and handling grain transportation rail assets all belong within a co-operative structure," he said.
"That way it stays grower owned and focused on delivering maximum value to growers but providing the best cheapest service possible to the marketers as well so that CBH is seen by the marketers as an asset to them."
Mr Clauson said with whole of industry support CBH had the potential to lead WA through many future generations of growers, but he conceded changes were needed.
He highlighted a rail access outcome was needed required, as was improved throughput at the sites that were considered key locations in the supply chain.
He outlined the need for future CBH investments to meet short and long-term benchmarks so that growers benefited from the venture immediately either through rebates or savings.
"A lot of people are in two minds about the fertiliser investment and it's really part of a move to try and influence farmers input costs to have some bearing on how the market treats growers," Mr Clauson said.
"We're trying to say, well we have the capability to go into the fertiliser market and look at other markets where we don't think product is being priced into the marketplace on a competitive basis.
"It's all about driving benefits to growers.
"We don't think there's any plans for CBH to become huge in the fertiliser market at this point in time, but there are other things where costs are creeping up and getting to a level where they present a major part of the budget.
"Fuel is obviously one of those, we have looked at assisting growers in the way of finance by our pre-pay advantage package which is very popular."
The past WAFarmers Grains Council president, local shire president and deputy president has served for 20 years on various Australian Securities Exchange-listed company boards.
"I believe I bring some real corporate experience to the board and I'm very commercially focused and I like to achieve outcomes that are positive," he said.
"I have a passion for trying to ensure the viability of WA growers, many of whom farm in some of the most difficult farming conditions in the world.
"I think we need to improve communication within our membership so they understand where we are going, we could become more transparent and we need to back some of the judgements we make and show real faith in them.
"I really believe as far as Derek Clauson is concerned I'm all for investing all the money we can in WA before we spend too much overseas.
"The board has become much more intrusive into some of our investments and setting standards for those investments that they expect those investments to meet."