CBH board candidate profiles: Rhys Turton
The battle is on for the final position on the CBH board, representing district 3. Vying for the spot is Rhys Turton of York, Lindsay Tuckwell and Natalie Browning of Kondinin, and Stephen Strange of Bruce Rock. In this four part series, we sit down with each of the four candidates to ask why they have nominated and what they hope to achieve...
Rhys Turton is a grain grower from York and has been farming for 25 years. During this time, he and his family owned a second rotational cropping property in Koorda that they farmed for 20 years. Being involved with the two properties has given him a great insight into the challenges and rewards of grain production in two very different farming zones. He currently farms with his parents and has two school-aged sons.
Why have you nominated?
CBH is an integral part of every grower’s business. It is important for growers to take an interest in the activities of CBH and help to shape their co-operative’s future.
I have a strong desire to see CBH prosper for the benefit of all members, and to ensure it runs effectively and efficiently to best service the needs of growers.
What can you bring to the CBH board?
In addition to my farming background, I can bring significant experience as a board director.
I have served on the boards of several agricultural co-operatives, including Ravensdown in New Zealand and United Farmers. Ravensdown is a diverse co-operative supplying its 17,000 trading members with farming inputs and services, having a turnover of close to a $1 billion and employing 740 staff. I have also served on the boards of industry organisations, including GrainGrowers Limited, COGGO and WAFarmers.
I was a councillor with The Co-operative Federation of WA for seven years and helped to establish York’s local Bendigo Bank, serving on its board for nine years. I have an excellent understanding of corporate governance, strategic planning, business development and financial performance.
I have been a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors since 2002.
At the farm level, I have personally delivered grain to nine different CBH receival sites and have an excellent understanding of the practical side of grain storage, handling and transport.
Apart from my farming background, I can bring significant experience as a board director to CBH. I have served on the boards of several large agricultural co-operatives including Ravensdown in New Zealand and United Farmers. Ravensdown is a diverse co-op supplying its 17,000 trading members with farming inputs and services, having a turnover of close to a billion and employing 740 staff. I have also served on the boards of several industry good organisations including GrainGrowers Limited, COGGO, and WA Farmers.
I was a councillor with The Co-operative Federation of WA for seven years and helped establish our local Bendigo Bank in York and served on the board for nine years. I have an excellent understanding of corporate governance, strategic planning, business development and financial performance.
I have been a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors since 2002. At the farm level, I have personally delivered grain to 9 different CBH receival sites over the years and have an excellent understanding of the practical side of grain storage, handling and transport.
What does CBH do well? How can it improve?
CBH has a great community support program and many rural residents benefit from its generosity. It is great to see this co-operative spirit at work.
CBH has low storage and handling fees when benchmarked against similar organisations offering the same service. The rebate program is an example of CBH returning value to growers.
CBH should explore more flexible ways of creating rebates or returning capital to growers under its current structure.
What are your thoughts on potential attempts to corporatise CBH?
The board should always be objectively looking at the structure of the organisation to see if it is the most appropriate for members’ needs. The current structure, that is, a strong grower-owned and controlled co-operative, is the best to serve growers’ requirements. I do not believe corporatisation will work in growers’ interests.
What is your view on CBH investing outside of WA?
I do not have a problem with CBH investing outside of WA, as long as any investments do not impact on the core business of the group. Any investments would have to fit with CBH’s vision and purpose and must undergo rigorous due diligence to test for sustainability and profitability, and have the capability to add value to growers businesses. Likewise, I would not have a problem selling assets outside of WA if they did not add value for members, or could be sold for a significant profit for the benefit of members.
What are the biggest challenges for CBH during the next five years?
CBH is undergoing a bin rationalisation program and closing selected CBH sites. A challenge for the organisation is to make sure the bins that will remain open are ready to handle the bigger and faster harvest that happen these days so as not to cause delivery delays.
Another challenge for CBH is the fact that a reasonable percentage of CBH members are looking to cash in their potential value in the co-operative. So CBH must investigate ways to continually add significant value to all members, including those wanting to exit farming, and allow those staying in farming the ability to have a strong grower-owned co-operative to service their needs.
To view the other three candidate profiles, see Countryman’s website.
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