This year’s Grain Growers Ltd (GGL) southern director elections promise to be a close run thing, with five candidates contesting the two positions.
This year members are asked to vote for two new board directors to represent the southern region which runs from Dubbo south through Victoria and Tasmania.
Incumbent southern region directors Gerry Lane and Bruce Smith have reached the end of their permitted terms and are therefore ineligible to run.
Along with the director elections, GGL is also pushing for a number of changes to its constitution, which it says will streamline its operation.
All will be decided at the GGL annual general meeting in Albury on September 27. With voting now open, Fairfax Ag Media profiles the five candidates.
JULIA HAUSLER is a farmer at Warracknabeal, in Victoria’s Wimmera. Holding degrees in economics and marketing, she uses these skills daily in her farm sales, harvest logistics and staff management duties.
She has a long time involvement with the grains industry, formerly working as a grain accumulator in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
Her major reason for standing for the board is to represent family farming businesses similar to her own.
In terms of representative experience, she has represented growers from her region on the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) regional cropping solutions network as well as representation on Grain Growers Policy Group and National Farmers Federation Competitiveness Council.
Since nominating for the position on the GGL board she has stepped down from all these committees to ensure there is no conflict of interest.
Mrs Hausler was awarded the ‘Outstanding Community Leader’ in 2014 on the Emerald Top 100 Women in Agribusiness awards and recently graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).
BRETT HOSKING is a farmer at Quambatook in Victoria’s Mallee.
He is well known to the farming community for his role as the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) grains group president, a position he has held since 2013.
This year he was also elected vice-president of the VFF as a whole.
He said he had decided to put his hand up for the Grain Growers board in order to deliver strong, unified leadership for the grains industry at a national level.
“I have strong networks with industry and government as well as extensive board and governance experience.”
He said Grain Growers was a nationally recognised representative voice and said he wanted to see the organisation work closer with other grower groups to deliver a sound outcome for all growers.
DAN COOPER is a farmer at Caragabal near Forbes on the south-west slopes in NSW.
He is the immediate past chairman of the NSW Farmers grains committee, standing down at this year’s annual conference in July.
He said he wanted to see a united front in grain grower ranks and was heartened to see progress made on that front over the last couple of years.
“I think the leaders of the various lobby organisations are now getting together better, we’ve seen that in various initiative I was involved in during my time with NSW Farmers.
“We’re learning to work together which has to happen.”
Mr Cooper said he was passionate about enhancing farm gate returns through competition and efficiency from across the supply chain.
He said a strong and vibrant representative lobby was more critical than ever.
“With the threat of emerging producers taking our market share, the need to be strong and united has never been more important.”
MARK HOSKINSON is a fourth generation farmer from Kikoira in central NSW, operating in a partnership with his son’s family.
He has been involved in the agricultural sector for over 35 years and has had a long career in agricultural politics.
Mr Hoskinson was an executive councillor with NSW Farmers from 2006 to 2015, and was on the grains committee for the same period of time, serving as chairman from 2009-2013 before being succeeded by Mr Cooper.
He has also had a lengthy involvement with Grain Growers.
He was on the former committee of advice (now the regional committee) for over ten years and was the chairman of the Grain Growers Association Reform Group, which played a major role in influencing the make-up of the GGL board in the mid-2000s.
“I’m looking to secure a farming future for our descendants,” he said.
BOB McCORMACK is a farmer from Temora in the Riverina. Along with his mixed farming operation he runs a pump business, specialising in rural water supply.
He has been a member of the Australian Fodder Industry Association since its inauguration in 1995, a director for five years and chairman for three.
“During my chairmanship the membership grew from under 80 to over 300 members,” he said.
“It was also during this time I led a Trade Delegation to China to promote and investigate exporting hay into the Chinese beef and dairy industries.”
Mr McCormack has been involved in Grain Growers since 1968, when he was a foundation member of the Hard and Soft Wheat Growers Association.
Since then, he has been a member of the Committee Of Advice, then the Australian Agricultural Reference Group, a member of the Regional Committee Of Advice and until July a member of the National Policy Group before standing down to campaign for a board seat.
He said he wanted to see Grain Growers live up to its potential.
“Grain Growers has a substantial money base that needs to be well managed and further developed.
“This base is fundamental for outcomes that can be achieved for the good of the Industry into the future.”