Australian grain co-op CBH Group has welcomed its first ever female grower director.
Natalie Browning, who runs a 6400ha grain farm with her husband Karl in Kondinin, Western Australia, was elected to the board on 19 February as a member director in District 3.
The election is a historic first for the 85-year old co-op – with Ms Browning also thought to be the youngest grower director, at 34.
CBH, which is owned by 4,200 Western Australian grain growers and supplies to more than 30 countries, reported a record surplus of AU $247m for the year ending 30 September 2017.
Ms Browning, who has been involved in the sector for 17 years, was out of four candidates, running against Lindsay Tuckwell from Kondinin, Stephen Strange from Bruce Rock and Rhys Turton from York.
CBH chair Wally Newman said: “We welcome Natalie’s appointment to the board. Her deep background in farming and her experience on CBH’s Growers’ Advisory Council will bring valuable capabilities and perspectives to our board,” he said.
“I’d like to personally thank all candidates for their involvement. It was a very well-run campaign by all with informed passion and importantly, respect for one another.
“On behalf of the board, we are looking forward to working with Natalie and taking our co-operative forward in what is a particularly tough international grain environment that continues to provide serious challenges.”
The formal appointment of the directors took place at CBH’s annual general meeting on 23 February. Brian McAlpine and Simon Stead were also re-elected unopposed in District 1 and District 5 respectively.
Last year the co-operative ruled out a share market listing, on that ground that the majority of its members wanted to keep the co-operative structure.