Young’s apprenticeship serves well

28 Nov, 2014 01:00 AM
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New WAFarmers Grain Council president Duncan Young.
Transport and logistics; that's a big one for the Grains Council ...
New WAFarmers Grain Council president Duncan Young.

BEVERLEY graingrower Duncan Young will graduate from an extended and enlightening agripolitical apprenticeship when he's elevated to president of the WAFarmers Grains Council early next year.

The 43-year-old father of two first joined the Council in the early 2000s and has since been involved in developing policy and advocating some of the industry's biggest and most challenging issues.

That includes deregulation of bulk wheat exports nationally and coarse grains in WA and the advent of grower choice through full commercialisation of genetically modified canola in 2010.

Mr Young has worked with some of the local industry's most experienced and influential figures including veteran farm lobbyist Bob Iffla, long-serving council member Kevin Jones and CBH director Derek Clauson.

In 2010, he was appointed the Council's senior vice president, having previously served as junior vice president for two years under Mr Clauson, as WA farmers entered the initial post-deregulation era, with grain logistics and marketing immediate challenges.

Softly spoken but carrying a steely inner determination, Mr Young is expected to replace incumbent president Kim Simpson at the Council's annual general meeting in February.

"I think being vice president for a long period has allowed me to meet a lot of people in the industry and build up contacts and gain more knowledge," he said.

"I think it's quite good that I haven't jumped in, in a short period of time."

Mr Young said his motivation for joining the Council was to do something for the grains industry while increasing his knowledge of it.

"There probably wasn't a general issue at the time; I just wanted to give a bit back to the industry I was in," he said.

"I was already serving on a lot of local committees and I thought it was the next step forward.

"I wanted to have my voice in the room and at the time I thought it was good if some of the younger farmers got onto these councils and put forward their views, compared to the older generation."

Mr Young said 43 was "about the right age" for him to graduate into a more senior leadership role.

He sees grain logistics as a big on-going issue, and other top agenda items include: cutting red tape to help reduce on-farm costs; repealing the Genetically Modified Crops Free Areas Act; fine tuning the grains research and development landscape; on-going seasonal demands; and improving industry representation.

"Transport and logistics; that's a big one for the Grains Council - not just rail but also road and the whole transport supply chain," he said.

"There's a lot of wastage we can see in the whole scheme that we'd like to see addressed.

"We see a lot of on-farm red tape, especially for a lot of the charges on licencing which has gone up dramatically in this State in the past 18 months."

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