Surplus for WAFarmers

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

WA's peak farming organisation is back in the black after recording a surplus for the first time in four years.

The WAFarmers 2015 Financial Report has recorded a $140,000 turnaround from 2014, boasting its first operating surplus since 2010, of $22,382.

The struggling lobby group had amassed losses totalling more than half-a-million dollars over the four previous years.

President Dale Park had first raised the red flag, calling the situation "unsustainable" after a big operating loss was recorded in 2012 followed by another significant loss in 2013.

The federation has been fighting for financial survival and grappling with a new funding model since that time.

This year, total income decreased by 1.7 per cent to $1.6 million, but was positively offset by the 103-year-old farm lobby group's decrease in expenditure by almost 10 per cent to $1.57 million.

WAFarmersFirst milk also provided a new revenue stream.

Under an exclusive deal with Coles the group recorded about $140,000 in sales, with 25 per cent of the income accrued in the Dairy Industry Project Trust for use on projects which will result in a direct benefit to the WA dairy industry.

There are plans to expand the WAFarmers brand, with the first shipment of WAFarmersFirst milk and WA honey due to arrive in China in January.

WAFarmers chief executive Stephen Brown said the surplus was in line with the 2015 budget and its five-year Re-charge, Re-connect Business Plan.

He said the surplus was achieved by a focused commitment to decrease expenditure over the past year.

"Our cash on hand is up by 100 per cent and our total liabilities are down significantly," he said.

"Our plans are focused around strengthening our financial position by getting rid of debt."

Mr Brown said the board and the executive team had made significant steps toward increasing revenue, while also creating more executive positions.

"We are planning to employ a policy officer and membership officer in January," he said

"The power of WAFarmers is to act on behalf of its members to increase our representation on government committees and inquiries.

"The group must work towards travelling east as much as possible and increasing our presence."

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