Virtual AGM relays GrainGrowers’ achievements, election results

Liz Wells, September 17, 2020

GrainGrowers chief executive officer, David McKeon, and re-elected Western Region director, Rhys Turton.

GROWER representative body, GrainGrowers, used the COVID-safe medium of virtual technology to run its 62nd annual general meeting (AGM) yesterday and announce the results of the election of Western Region grower directors.

Rhys Turton from York, Western Australia, was re-elected as a director and Richard Konzag from Mallala, South Australia, was elected as a new director.

They will serve until 2023.

The AGM also saw Rod Birch from Coorow, WA, step down as deputy chair of GrainGrowers.

“I would like to congratulate Rhys and Richard and am looking forward to working with them as we continue to work on behalf of our grower members across Australia. Rhys has been a fantastic cirector for GrainGrowers, and I congratulate him on his reappointment and am also pleased to welcome Richard to the board,” GrainGrowers chairman, Brett Hosking, said.

“The AGM was a great time to reflect on the breadth of work that has been undertaken for growers across Australia and to celebrate the wins. The Board are looking forward to another productive 12 months.”

Mr Konzag is a grower from Mallala in SA where his family has farmed since 1911.

He runs a family enterprise, working with his son and nephew.

He has extensive board experience, with previous roles including the Advisory Board of Agriculture, the Grains Research and Development Corporation Southern panel and the Australian Grain Growers Co-Op Board.

Mr Turton farms at York in the wheatbelt of Western Australia and has served as a grower director for GrainGrowers since 2017.

He is the president of the Western Australian Farmers Federation and chair of the Council of Grain Grower Organisations in Western Australia.

He has also held board positions on major commercial agricultural cooperatives in Australia and internationally.

Connecting with growers

In his address to the virtual AGM, Mr Hosking said 2019-20 had been another big year for GrainGrowers.

“It has been a great opportunity to see our organisation grow and become, in particular, more grower focussed, whether it be for our engagement, being able to connect more directly with growers wherever we could get the opportunity,” he said.

“In the past 12 months we have seen challenges like the China barley tariffs. We have seen the Indonesia Free Trade Agreement which has been a great win for growers. Growers have put forward our sustainability framework for the industry. Our climate change policy helps engage us in those conversations about the climate.”

Year of achievements

Also addressing the AGM, GrainGrowers chief executive officer David McKeon outlined the achievements and goals “we have kicked over the past 12 months”.

“Under IA-CEPA, GrainGrowers was able to achieve two goals we set out to win two years ago,” he said.

“Firstly, we were able to achieve a 500,000-tonne access of feed grain into the Indonesian market. We are the first country in the world to do that.

“Secondly, we were able to achieve the Australian and Indonesian Governments agreeing to the development of a strategic grains partnership, helping ensure that for many years to come Indonesia will continue to look at Australia as a preferred supplier for the grain needs.”

On a less positive note, Mr McKeon said the application of tariffs by the Chinese administration on Australia’s barley industry was a low point.

“We’d been working hard for well over 18 months ensuring we had adequate research and ensuring we provided submissions to help inform a sensible decision from the Chinese government,” he said.

Mr McKeon said the establishment of Grains Australia over the last 12 months was a highlight for the Australian grains industry.



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