HAVING active roles in WA’s wool and grains industries, Pingelly producer John Hassell realises the importance of having a say on remote decisions potentially affecting his livelihood.
The former CBH Group director and WA’s representative on the national WoolPoll panel, Mr Hassell has reminded WA woolgrowers they had a chance next month to have a say on what portions of their wool cheque levy is spent on research and development (R&D) and on marketing wool over the next three years.
Mr Hassell said he hoped levy-paying woolgrowers would feel strongly enough about their industry’s future to vote in WoolPoll 2018.
He said with high wool prices there was a risk woolgrowers would be complacent about the poll.
The poll will determine whether the two per cent levy of the past three years is maintained and how revenue derived from it will be spent by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).
“Prices are so good that growers might naturally focus on other areas of their farming operations, particularly here in WA, where the majority of mixed farmers will look to cropping towards the end of the year,” Mr Hassell said.
“Farmers need to have their say and not let others speak for them.
“Our other challenge is that while WA farmers are very innovative and do some amazing stuff, they’re also very individualistic and self-supporting – they don’t like to go charging out and getting involved elsewhere.
“A vote in WoolPoll is a chance that wool producers have every three years to vote on the amount they want spent on researching industry issues, developing new technologies and marketing wool to the world.
“No vote means no say.
“Wool producers need to think about their industry’s future, think about the investment that’s gone into marketing and R&D and what it’s returned and vote.”
Mr Hassell and wife Michelle run a mixed-farming enterprise 25 kilometres east of Pingelly and this season shore 3500 ewes and 700 lambs, as well as implementing a cropping program of wheat, canola, lupins, oats and hay over 1000 hectares.
Their sheep numbers have doubled in the past two years to take advantage of a buoyant wool market for their 17-19 micron fleece wool.
The recent rains were a welcome relief for both enterprises.
Mr Hassell said eligible woolgrowers would receive a voter information kit shortly, which will include all the information they need to make an informed decision, as well as the levy rate options.
“This year’s voter information kit is very comprehensive and contains more financial detail than ever before,” he said.
“I encourage woolgrowers to take the time to review the documents and complete their ballot paper online, by mail or fax.”
Voting in WoolPoll 2018 opens on Monday, September 17 and closes on Friday, November 2.
p More information: visit woolpoll.com.au