BRIDGING the communication gap between growers and CBH is the mission of potential member director Stephen Strange.
The Bruce Rock grower has a long-standing history in local government and politics and is running in the District 3 elections for 2016.
He stands against incumbent of nine years and fellow Bruce Rock grower Kevin Fuchsbichler and Corrigin grower Wes Baker.
Mr Strange brings with him 18 years of experience as Bruce Rock shire president, involvement in the WA Local Government Association board and chairman of the Local Government Grain Information group.
He also ran as the Liberal candidate for the Central Wheatbelt in 2013.
Mr Strange said he was prompted to nominate for the CBH board because of his and others' concerns that the co-operative was becoming disconnected from growers, particularly the younger generation.
"I feel there's a gap there with the younger growers generally, some are very connected but quite a few really aren't and with the onset of competition and the change of grain flow through site rationalisation I think they need to be involved," he said.
"If I was successful, my aim would be to act as a conduit between the board and the growers and bring senior staff out to (harvest) meetings to talk about CBH in general.
"My son Leigh and his age group are very active through social media, they are some of the best farmers in the world and I just feel there is a gap there between CBH and that group.
"I think we'd have a lot to offer CBH."
The insight CBH would gain into grain freight planning through Mr Strange's shire involvement would be beneficial to both sides, he said.
"Certainly through District 3 and my involvement as a shire president I see the change of grain flow every season and it changes due to freight rates and turnaround times when harvest isn't quite so busy," he said.
"I would love to be involved with that planning with my local government hat on as well, so the board understands the cost of roads that any bin closure will have.
"We know that local governments really only have one true revenue stream for roads locally and that's through rates so the growers would be paying for the roads through their rates."
He said network rationalisation had been a natural trend for many years and this was becoming more important as competition tested CBH, but any large scale changes needed to be made in consultation with growers and the shires.
"It needs to be put out there to growers, and CBH needs to gain grower input on what sites they would like to see enlarged and the others that won't be used as much unless there's a surge in one season," he said.
"All of that needs to be put out there, not just planned in isolation by the board or senior staff.
"It has to be workshopped through, including with local governments.
"Certainly at the bin meetings I go to we're getting a lot of direction from CBH and there's not a lot of grower input.
"I feel that growers are being told what's going to happen but growers being more involved will be a win-win for both parties and bring about a far more efficient system."
Mr Strange said it was a perfect time post-harvest for CBH to be hearing from growers about what worked and what didn't from the season, but this two-way conversation was lacking.
Similarly, he said concerns growers have with CBH investments, staff cuts and other business decisions could be allayed with effective communication.
"I applaud what CBH has done overseas, I think that needs to be expanded further and it's all about supply chain and opening new markets for our grain," Mr Strange said.
"As a co-operative I believe CBH is in a very good position to take that a long way but we have to remember with our $2 share we own CBH and it's still about the cost of getting that grain safely from paddock to port and right now growers are questioning CBH on that.
"Our costs are going up every year.
"It's coming back to that grassroots operational storage of CBH that I have concerns about.
"Board members should relay the planning and business decisions to growers and put it out there to them, explaining the whole ball game of CBH."
Mr Strange said he respected that staff were employed for their expertise and ability to make informed decisions for growers, but the co-operative model meant growers were entitled to be informed.
"There's always been a lot of debate on that, but the co-operative model still has an enormous amount to offer, it's just a matter of tweaking or evolving the co-operative a little more," he said.
"We need to modernise the co-operative and perhaps at senior staff level and even board level that is happening, but we as growers don't have any direct input to a lot of their strategic planning.
"So certainly a co-operative works for me, but it has to be a very modernised co-operative ready to do business with anyone right throughout the world."