INCOMING WAFarmers chief executive officer Andy McMillan plans to spend more time in the bush and less at his desk as part of his plans to maintain a strong membership base as the farming population falls.
On Monday, Mr McMillan will take over from long-serving chief Doug Parker who leaves WAFarmers tomorrow after 11 years of service characterised by sound financial management.
Mr McMillan started at WA’s largest farm lobby group about a decade ago as the grains section executive officer.
At that time, the section had 22 staff, almost double its current number, and Mr McMillan enjoyed the luxury of a research assistant.
Mr McMillan was later promoted to become the organisation’s first policy director.
He said the organisation had changed a “great deal” from when he first started in 1998 when the AWB was moving to privatisation and CBH, under former chairman Alan Watson, first touted its plans to corporatise.
He said his vision was to spend more time in country areas with members to discover the big issues.
He said the two biggest challenges would be retaining membership numbers and maintaining credibility with governments.
“From a lobbying perspective, when we walk through a minister’s door we need to make sure we are not going to waste their time and that we take to them a credible argument on whatever the issue may be,” he said.