CBH Board member John Hassell has called on Premier Colin Barnett and Transport Minister Dean Nalder to be statesman-like and reopen the Tier 3 rail lines before an increase in freight costs put farmers out of business.
Mr Hassell, who farms at Pingelly and is up for re-election in the upcoming CBH director elections, said the State should be taking control of the State-owned asset for the good of the Wheatbelt.
Mr Hassell spoke exclusively to Farm Weekly about the current state of the grains industry.
"The problem I have is, whether the rail is run by Brookfield or not, it's a State-owned asset," he said.
"If you lease it, in my mind there's an implication to run it and if you don't want to run it you should hand it back.
"You shouldn't just leave it sitting there idle and give it back in 30 years time because it's going to be degenerated.
"I'd really like to see the Premier and Dean Nalder become statesman-like and do something about this.
"When it has the potential to remove almost $20,000 from the hip pocket of a grower at Kulin through increased freight costs, something needs to be done.
"For some that's the difference between being viable or having the bank breathing down your neck.
"There are multi-million dollars that are coming out of growers' pockets just because CBH can't run those lines."
A staunch supporter of the CBH co-operative model, Mr Hassell said he would maintain his focus on ensuring the current model of CBH continued, despite support for corporatisation existing in small pockets.
Mr Hassell said he was elected on his support for CBH as a co-operative model and this was not going to change.
"I never take it for granted that we've won the battle and as you can see from the recent press articles, there are still people who want corporatisation," he said.
"I'm just not ever giving up, I'm maintaining my passion for the co-operative.
"It's grower-owned and grower-controlled and it's capturing value all along the vertical supply chain.
"There is a storage and handling and the rail business that is returning real value to the growers.
"We've had shares in a shipping business, we've got the flour mills and much more.
"We're capturing value all along the supply chain and returning those to growers through rebates.
"But I don't think the push for corporatisation will ever go away."
Mr Hassell said the opposition to the co-operative model could "have their cake and eat it too" if CBH was to move towards using the new Co-Operatives National Act capital units (CCUs) capability.
Through CCUs Mr Hassell said members of the co-operative could have their share of the company listed on their balance sheet as capital, but still remain part of the overall body.
He said this would allow members access to the funds when needed for trading, but would ensure the benefits growers received through a co-operative remained.
"If we went corporate almost all of the eastern Wheatbelt would become unviable," he said.
"If we went corporate, even the people close to the city would be paying twice as much for freight and handling than they currently are."
Mr Hassell also touched on recent media reports surrounding the resignation of independent board member Samantha Tough, describing it as a "storm in a teacup."
While he was not willing to speak on his personal position, Mr Hassell said growers could be confident the CBH board was operating effectively.
"It's not unusual for boards and directors to part company for various reasons," he said.
He said the now grower-dominated CBH board was not a concern for the future of the co-operative, but a positive.
"I go in with a political platform and that is that I want to maintain the co-operative and I want to get what's best for growers," he said.
"Independent directors are hired for their expertise, they're hired for the skills we don't have as growers.
"They're there to provide the skills to supplement what we do, not to save us from ourselves, but to supplement what we can do.
"There is no divided board, we function pretty well and we've achieved a lot of good stuff in the six years I've been involved."
Introducing a system for quality optimisation of barley, similar to the current system CBH has for wheat, is a focus for Mr Hassell if elected for his third term.
"Growers are having to mix and match their loads on the farm by harvesting a little in one paddock and moving elsewhere," he said.
"It would be really good if we could do it virtually on the computer like we do for wheat."
He said further supply chain optimisation was also something he would continue to invest his time in.
Mr Hassell said the important outcome from this initiative would be strategic upgrades to the network being based on need, which had the potential to save between $68-$72 million for growers.
"Rather than pressure being put on someone to put money somewhere and rather than political pressure, investment decision-making would be made through analysis of where improvements to the system were needed," he said.
The introduction of independent grain exporter Bunge into the WA system this year was something Mr Hassell welcomed.
He said any good system needed competition and it would drive CBH to improve.
"CBH in the regulated market just floated along and passed the costs along to the growers and that's not right," Mr Hassell said.
"We need to have continuous pressure on us to perform.
"AWB was a mess because we as growers didn't monitor our directors to make sure they were doing the job well enough.
"I as a director should be challenged to ensure that I'm doing what's in the best interest of the growers.
"Competition is the biggest issue for CBH.
"Groups like Bunge coming in and creating a low cost supply chain will put pressure on CBH to perform and that is a good thing."