Large task ahead as Barry appointed new Grain Producers Australia chair
Miling farmer Barry Large has been appointed the first WA chair of national advocacy group Grain Producers Australia, an organisation he helped set up more than 10 years ago.
Mr Large was unanimously chosen to succeed grains industry legend and Victorian grower Andrew Weidemann after eight years as his deputy, with Mr Weidemann holding the job since 2013.
A farmer at Rupanyup, Mr Weidemann made the decision to step down from the top role after a health scare last year but will remain on the board as its research and development spokesman, and in charge of special projects.
The national farm advocacy group announced the leadership change after its virtual annual general meeting late last week, saying Mr Large had been an integral part of the grower-driven process behind the representative body’s establishment in 2010.
Mr Large is one of two WA-based western region grower directors on the eight-person Grain Producers Australia board, with Broomehill farmer Gerard Paganoni re-elected to the board for a second term.
A staunch farm advocate, Mr Large chairs the biosecurity committee, acting as a conduit for managing national biosecurity issues for Australian grain producers, and working with key government and industry stakeholders.
He has cropped 6500ha and run 9000 sheep on the family property at Miling since 1992, and serves as chair of the Grains Industry Market Access Forum and on the Council of Grain Grower Organisations board.
Mr Large said the board leadership roles had changed but Grain Producers Australia’s core values and grower focus would remain.
“We will continue to work diligently behind the scenes getting on with the job of representing all growers who pay a levy to fund Grains Research Development Corporation activities, as per the (Primary Industries and Energy Research and Development) Act, and biosecurity responsibilities, working with Plant Health Australia in important areas such as our award-winning Grains Farm Biosecurity program,” he said.
“Andrew Weidemann has been a tower of strength for our industry, and we’re fortunate to retain his depth of knowledge and experience on the board to continue advocating for Australian grain producers and delivering outcomes.
“The world is run by those who turn up, and as Andrew’s leadership has shown, our members definitely turn up, to selflessly and passionately represent growers and build our sustainably.
“He’s certainly epitomised the Grain Producers Australia motto: real growers, real results.”
Mr Weidemann will remain on the GPA board as its national research and development spokesman, and managing strategic projects. He replaced inaugural Grain Producers Australia chair Peter Mailler, who stepped down from the role in 2013.
He said GPA continued to champion issues that mattered to Australian grain producers, delivering real outcomes that helped boost their profitability and sustainability.
“GPA was established after the loss of the Grains Council of Australia in 2010 to fill the void that was created in national representation and assume legislative obligations for growers,” Mr Weidemann said.
“In the 11 years since GPA formally launched, we’ve made significant strides in growing and building the organisation, and this journey will continue to gain momentum in the next year and well beyond.”
There were three positions up for grabs on the board at last week’s AGM, with Mr Paganoni re-elected alongside Queenslander Andrew Earle, while NSW Farmers grains committee chair Matthew Madden replaced Queensland grower Luke Arbuckle.
Mr Earle — who farms on the NSW and Queensland border — was appointed deputy chair after joining the board in 2013.
This year’s AGM was held virtually because of COVID-19 for the second year, bringing together members from throughout Australia to participate in the event.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails