Rhys at the helm of WAFarmers

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Cally DupeCountryman
York farmer Rhys Turton is the new president of WAFarmers.
Camera IconYork farmer Rhys Turton is the new president of WAFarmers. Credit: Danella Bevis

Rhys Turton has been crowned president of WAFarmers after winning a two-man race at the organisation’s Trending Ag Conference in Perth on Thursday.

Mr Turton has replaced WAFarmers former president Tony York, who announced in January he would resign from the his role at WAFarmers to focus on his new position on the National Farmers Federation board.

Mr York made history in November when he was appointed to the NFF board as the first WA member appointed to the board in more than 20 years.

He has spent three months juggling his NFF board position with his WAFarmers presidency, but has stepped down from WAFarmers this afternoon.

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Mr Turton amassed the most votes in the members’ vote on Thursday, after facing opposition Badgingarra farmer Dale Park, who served as WAFarmers president before Mr York.

Mr Turton has now stepped into a two-year term as president, shifting up the ranks from his former role as WAFarmers senior vice president.

In accepting the role, Mr Turton said Australia’s agriculture industry was entering a period of turbulence and change, and WAFarmers needed to be an “agile organisation”.

“Changes to the agricultural industry globally are moving at a breakneck speed and WAFarmers needs to be an agile organisation to adapt to the new landscape of modern farming and agribusiness,” Mr Turton said.

“Work is already under way within the organisation to increase its visibility and influence in reforming policy on a state and national level and as new president I will work with the WAFarmers team to restructure the organisation.

“I am a member of the WA farming community which is made up of hardworking people who are passionate about the longevity of the agricultural industry and setting standards that are the envy of global practice.”

Mr Turton, who farms sheep, grain and hay at York, also serves as a director at Grain Growers Limited and chairman of Council of Grain Growers Organisation.

WAFarmers chief executive Trevor Whittington said Mr Turton brought “wealth of experience” to the president role.

“WAFarmers has entered a period of re-invigorating the membership base and establishing a clear path to set the agenda ahead of the next Federal Election and Mr Turton brings a wealth of experience within the agricultural industry to the role of president,” he said.

“The WA farming community is committed to high standards across all its practices and Mr Turton shares our common goal in increasing our presence in the public arena to firmly establish our place on the national agenda.”

Mr Whittington thanked Mr York, saying he been “an excellent steward for the organisation”, and an “advocate and advocate for rural WA”.

More to come.

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