WA'S biggest lamb processor and exporter WAMMCO International has widened the diversity of its board with the appointment of Manjimup producer Brad Ipsen to replace Rod Madden, Morawa, who retired in January.
WAMMCO chairman Dawson Bradford said Mr Ipsen's family was one of Australia's most prominent producers of broccoli, sweet corn and prime lamb, and had considerable commercial expertise to offer the co-operative.
He said Mr Ipsen was a candidate in the election held last year for the producer seat previously held by Tony Boyle, York, and won by Kelly Manton-Pearce.
He was one of five aspirants who had expressed an interest in the latest board vacancy.
"With Ms Manton-Pearce's skills in meat science and marketing, and Mr Ipsen's vision and commercial marketing expertise we are gaining an impressive diversity of talent and producer representation on the board," Mr Bradford said.
He said the appointment would need to be ratified by members at WAMMCO's next annual general meeting.
The Ipsen family was among WA's first Poll Dorset breeders on their property at Manjimup in the early 1960s, reaching a peak of 8500 breeding ewes several years ago.
"My father Eric and I took an interest in the Kelso prime lamb breed we saw during a trip to New Zealand in 2004 and have since replaced our ewe flock with F2 and F3 Kelso ewes," Mr Ipsen said.
"We have been able to reduce our ewe numbers by about 3000 because we are maintaining lambing percentages of 140 per cent and are aiming to increase this to 160pc."
The Ipsens employ a staff of 20.
The family is among Australia's top five producers of broccoli and liaises with the other major national producers on marketing and policy strategies.
"As producers we could be regarded as competitors, but as Australian team players we have much in common and much to gain by working together,'' Mr Ipsen said.
"The vegetable industry has seen us become strongly family, community and consumer orientated.
"In a similar vein, we see WAMMCO offering significant opportunities as a co-operative for family farming enterprises to considerably strengthen their position over the next few years.''
Mr Ipsen said he was keen to promote the attributes more widely in the South West.
He said the acquisition four years ago of a processing plant in Goulburn, New South Wales, proved WAMMCO's potential for wide-scope and flexibility.
"I believe there will be other opportunities over the horizon," he said.
"Changing consumer needs may see WAMMCO working more closely with consumers to provide new guarantees of taste, tenderness and other desired characteristics of lamb in its next phase of evolution and specialisation."
Mr Ipsen and wife Sarah have four children, a girl and a boy at school in Manjimup and two older sons studying medicine at the University of WA.
His parents Eric and Louise are integral to daily management of the business.