Court to chair Elders WA

25 Jan, 2005 10:00 PM
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PASTORALISTS and Graziers Association (PGA) president Barry Court will come full circle when he retires from his current post to become state chairman of Elders

WA.

Mr Court began his career with Elders in 1956 in administration before moving to the wool department, where he stayed until 1969.

Though born in Perth, Mr Court had a fascination with the bush from an early age.

Working with Elders allowed him to get in touch with rural WA and started his path to representing farmers¹ interests.

³I travelled the state¹s wool growing areas and discovered all the little towns,² he said. ³I thank Elders for it now, but I didn¹t thank them for it then, I thought they were working me too hard and not paying me enough!²

During his time with Elders Moora, Mr Court discovered an area that would become the site of the future family farm, established after he and wife Margaret returned from travelling the world pursuing her tennis career.

Mr Court became a member of the PGA in Moora in 1981, and chaired its wool and grains committees, was a member of the state salinity council and wool council and was the PGA representative with the National Farmers Federation.

He became PGA senior vice-president in 1996 and president in 1997.

³The organisation was then a bit light-on financially and for members,² Mr Court said. ³I¹m handing it over with much improved membership and finances, we own our building and are generally doing pretty well.²

He said he was handing the presidency over to someone with new ideas and enthusiasm.

He said his proudest achievement with PGA was minimising the affects of native titles over agricultural land.

³The big difference between me and my predecessor was that he thought native title was going to be temporary and wasn¹t going to stick around, where I though it was going to stick around and had to be dealt with head on,² he said.

He said PGA had also helped to remove the wool stockpile during his term, had ensured environmental issues were managed better and promoted better farm safety.

³We also helped to establish farm management deposits where farmers can put away money in a good year and take it out in a bad year.²

He said the offer to chair Elders came at the right time.

³I reckon I had one good challenge left in me and it was either going to be politics or this,² he said.

He said he had seen the world of politics through his father Charles and brother Richard and decided it wasn¹t for him.

³I still want to be active with helping farmers but I¹ll be doing it financially rather than politically,² he said.

³As state chairman my main role will be to assist state manager Peter Maxwell and help any of the department heads with any problems they¹ve got outside their normal sphere. Things like live shipping or political issues that a guy like Peter Maxwell hasn¹t got time the time to handle.

³I think Elders is doing a good job and I will work with them to increase income and returns, which will increase returns to growers, and to shareholders.²

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