WITH a 20 year corporate career in the grain industry behind her plus two years a director on NSWFarmers Board and current Grains Committee chair, Rebecca Reardon says she has the financial experience and expertise to take on the Treasurer position of the association.
Mrs Reardon will contest the position at the annual conference this month.
“I believe my formal qualifications along with my corporate and own business experience, plus two years as a director on the association Board, sets me up to carry out the Treasurer’s role,” she said.
“I think it is exciting times for NSWFarmers and I know I can contribute to that.
“The new CEO and Chair (of the organisation) will give the association a chance to reset and review, and that’s something every organisation should take the opportunity to do from time to time.”
Mrs Reardon, who comes from a Cootamundra farming family, runs with her husband, Daniel, a 1200 hectare summer and winter broadacre cropping enterprise with prime lamb production at “Lairdoo”, Moree.
Her involvement in NSWFarmers began after she finished her corporate career in the grains industry six years ago.
“I had stepped back from corporate work and became a member of the Grains Committee,” she said.
“I am current chair of this committee, but am stepping down to contest the Treasurer’s position.”
She is also a director of the NorthWest Local Lands Service and Grain Trade Australia.
Mrs Reardon said she had formal training in accountancy with her Agricultural Economics Degree at Sydney University and ran her own business after a career in the grains industry in various management roles spanning 20 years.
“I’ve had financial responsibility and have been involved in negotiations of multi-million dollar deals in the trading and grading industry, so I want to bring those skills to the treasurer’s role,” she said.
“I understand financials and the monitoring of them. I’m prepared to ask questions and can interpret, and I do my due diligence.”
Mrs Reardon said the association needed to get back to its “grass roots”.
“We have members who are disconnected, so we have to work on our communications, our touch-points with those members, and the important local issues that affect them.
“At the moment our membership growth is slow and I think people are feeling disconnected. We need to find a way to have better touch-points with those members in providing our services and our communications, and listening to them.”
When looking at the business Mrs Reardon said at present the association was running at an operational loss.
“It’s nearly a $100 million company now and it’s a significant investment which really needs to be managed professionally.
“I believe we need to concentrate on our revenue side of the business, not only to have more contact with farmers and provide services, but also to provide that revenue to fund the operations to ensure that advocacy continues to be well financed and funded because this is our core.
“We need to be sustainable in terms of going forward.”
She said business investments had been going very well and the capital base had grown enormously.
“We need to be conscious that we have a net profit, but we are operating at an operational loss and we need to be looking at our operation costs and revenue.
“The Board has done a really good job of bringing down the operational costs, but we need to continue to work on that, particularly on the revenue side of things to try and reduce our reliance on our capital investments to fund our operating.”