Young Nicoletti in CBH bid

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
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The daughter of high-profile farmer John Nicoletti is trying to create history by becoming the first woman grower elected to the board of CBH.

Romina Nicoletti will battle incumbent Brian McAlpine, Michael O'Callaghan and Lindsay Chappel for a seat on the farming co-operative's board.

The 33-year-old mother of three, whose father runs a string of John Deere dealerships and is a big grain grower, said it was time for some diversity and young blood on a board where infighting last month led to the resignation of independent director Samantha Tough.

"I want to see diversity, especially after what happened to Samantha Tough. It didn't look good for CBH," Ms Nicoletti said.

Ms Tough quit after being caught in the crossfire between warring factions. She lasted nine months as the second woman to serve as an independent director in CBH's 82-year history.

CBH will not appoint an independent director to replace Ms Tough until after next month's general meeting, which will follow a contest for three of the nine grower-elected seats.

In what shapes as a watershed few months for CBH, Pingelly-based director John Hassell faces a challenge from York farmer Rhys Turton while Dunn Rock's Andrew Duncan and Esperance grower Simon Stead will contest the seat left vacant by the retirement of Neil Wandel.

Ms Nicoletti, who runs a 10,000ha farm at Bonnie Rock with her husband Nick Priest, said her first priority would be to see CBH provide greater returns to its grower members.

"I know how tough it is out here and I think with the way the CBH books are they can do more to keep farmers farming," she said.

Ms Nicoletti, who drove a road train to deliver this season's crop to the local receival bin, said she was an independent woman who did not live in her father's shadow. "I'm not just John's daughter, I'm Romina Nicoletti and I have my own views," she said.

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