Park in the driver's seat of WAFarmers

29 Mar, 2012 04:00 AM
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LAST week not only marked the 100th year of the WAFarmers Federation, members also saw Mike Norton hand over the reins of president to Badgingarra farmer Dale Park.

In his final address as president Mr Norton outlined the challenges the agricultural industry in WA had faced in the last 12 months.

"Farmers have faced a very difficult year for many reasons," Mr Norton said.

"Agriculture has been bled dry by a whole range of very poorly thought out political and economic decisions which have been made over a very long period of time.

"But WAFarmers has been working on a whole range of solutions over the past 12 months and there remains a high level of confidence in the industry."

Mr Norton signed off by saying he would continue to be a member of the organisation and wished WAFarmers all the best for the next 100 years.

Mr Park said he was looking forward to meeting the challenges which agriculture will face in the coming years.

"There is a lot of work in front of agriculture and as an industry we need to band together to produce food for a growing population," Mr Park said.

"We will be meeting with Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman in the near future and that will be the perfect opportunity to outline WAFarmers' vision for agriculture and strengthen our relationship with the State Government and the Department of Agriculture and Food.

"One of agriculture's main challenges is securing the future of WA's rural communities and that is something we need to sit down with the government to work out."

Another big challenge facing Mr Park was the need for WAFarmers to find more members following a $30,000 loss in 2011.

Mr Park said if the lobby group didn't reach membership targets then it may need to look at some form of restructure.

Mr Park made the warning during the Annual General Meeting during the WAFarmers Centenary Conference and said one possible option would be to restructure the WAFarmers' sections.

"An option is to amalgamate the meat and wool section to make an animal section or something like that," Mr Park said.

"But that is only an option at this stage."

Mr Park said the organisation currently represented about 40 per cent of WA farmers but needed to lift that to at least half of the farming community.

He said if membership didn't increase it would need to look at possibly joining other 'like-minded' organisations and moving towards one agriculture organisation which represented all of WA agriculture.

Tony York, Tammin, was welcomed in as senior vice president while Max Watts is set to continue in the vice president's role.

Governor General of WA, his Excellency Malcolm McCusker was also there to oversee the organisation's change of leaders as well as to officially open the WAFarmers Centenary Celebration.

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READER COMMENTS

X Ag Socialist
29/03/2012 1:49:49 PM, on Farm Weekly

Well I pay my $1505.00+GST all Dale has to do is find 20 more like me. And if WAFF had not given Julie Newman and Co the boot !7new members would do .

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