Co-op way to go says Kojonup grower

26 Jan, 2013 01:00 AM
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CBH Board candidate Roger House said four years on CBH's Grower Advisory Council and many years as the local CBH bin representative had given him a good understanding of the internal workings of the company.
CBH Board candidate Roger House said four years on CBH's Grower Advisory Council and many years as the local CBH bin representative had given him a good understanding of the internal workings of the company.

KOJONUP grower Roger House says he isn't looking to change the world in his push to gain a seat on the CBH board.

Instead he wants to bring some fresh ideas and a level head to the table.

Mr House farms 3400 hectares comprising of 1100ha of wheat, barley and canola, in addition to running a sizeable livestock operation.

He ran for the CBH Board 10 years ago, but says since then he has gained more skills which have made him more confident of being able to fulfil the role.

"I have done the Australian Institute of Company Directors course and am the director of Cheddar Valley Station, a New Zealand-based agricultural company, so I have some experience at board level," he said.

"I am very much of the opinion that you need a good board to have a successful company and to do that board members need to work together."

Mr House said four years on CBH's Grower Advisory Council and many years as the local CBH bin representative had given him a good understanding of the internal workings of the company.

In addition to this experience, he completed a BRI Leadership Course and the Rabobank Executive Development Course.

Both these courses put him in contact with other growers from across Australia, which provided him with an insight into the benefits of the CBH system.

This is just one of a number of reasons Mr House wants CBH to remain a co-operative.

"CBH is a fantastic company and I think it will remain a great benefit to farmers, " he said.

"I know some people would like to access the equity in CBH but I believe by CBH remaining a co-operative this will stand growers in good stead for the future."

Mr House said he believed the majority of WA grain growers supported the co-operative structure.

"There was a comprehensive survey done two years ago, which covered the structure of the company and there was an overwhelming response for it to remain a co-operative," he said.

"CBH is something that WA growers have built up over a long period of time. I have seen and understand how grain is handled in the Eastern States' and they envy the efficiency and reduced costs offered by a grower co-operative like CBH."

Mr House said he would like to see future CBH investments benefiting growers more directly.

"The flour mills in Asia, for instance, are a fantastic investment, and provide a good return but in the future I would like to see similar investments set up in a different structure that will return profits to the growers that invest in it," he said.

Mr House applauded CBH's investment in its own rail fleet but said that also created a situation where freight costs at non-rail sites are changing the grain flow and will need to be constantly monitored.

"As the rail freight price reduces, growers will chase those savings and CBH needs to manage this to best utilise its facilities."

Mr House said he was not running for a board seat to try and implement significant change.

"There can be a lot of politicking on boards, the most important thing is to have a good understanding of corporate governance and to acknowledge that each director contributes different strengths to the board," he said.

"I am genuinely interested in getting the best outcomes for members, I think CBH needs to keep the costs down as much as possible but remain efficient in service delivery.

"Growers now have better headers and bigger trucks and get through harvest quicker. It will take good planning and careful management for CBH to keep up with this."

Mr House said he was also keen to see representation on the board from his area.

"This district is becoming an important grain growing area for the State and it would be good to have someone on the board from this region," he said.

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READER COMMENTS

Drowning in debt
1/02/2013 11:30:55 AM, on Farm Weekly

Its ok for you high rainfall blokes! Surely you can't be that far removed from the debt mess out here in the eastern Wheatbelt. Farmers are NOT getting necessary finance. That means they don't produce grain for you blokes to handle. See the negative feedback here. I'm sick of the same old director diatribe. Show us our equity and then politely give it back to us!
Mark
1/02/2013 8:34:10 PM, on Farm Weekly

I hope, Roger, you can see the extreme inequities in the co-op system. The growers who contributed the capital through retained earnings are not treated fairly. Many of whom have sold their farms and are in very poor financial shape. I feel for those people and their families.
FLOWER ONLINE
23/06/2013 7:07:59 PM, on Farm Weekly

Hi Roger, co-operatives can suffer ineffective leadership from a variety of sources. Members or management may lack sufficient or correct business knowledge to assess what the co-operative can realistically accomplish. Board members/hired management may abuse their positions for personal gain or ignore responsibility in favor of other. Traditional firms typically employ boards and hire upper management specifically for their expertise in the business, which limits decisions based on poor information. Leaders in traditional firms also tend to focus their responsibilities.

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