Two challengers have failed to win election to the board of Australian Wool Innovation.
Ed Storey and Steve McGuire were beaten for the three director's positions by the board's picks - Emma Watson, Neil Jackson and George Millington.
AWI chair Jock Laurie was again able to direct the many thousands of votes held by proxy to the board's selections.
Mr Storey, the former WoolProducers Australia president and Yass grower, won a total of 74,401 votes in support of his bid but was well short of Neil Jackson's 98,168, who had the least support of the AWI picks.
The election of directors came after AWI leaders said they were again preparing to campaign again on the contentious issue of levy funds paid by woolgrowers.
Although the next Woolpoll is still a year away, AWI chair Jock Laurie today hinted the board will be fighting again for a return to the higher two per cent levy payments.
"Growers need to have a serious think on how we take the industry forward," Mr Laurie said at the company's annual meeting in Sydney.
Growers voted down AWI's last bid to increase woolgrower payments in 2021, voting instead for a 1.5pc levy.
AWI has been dipping into its reserves with spending exceeded revenue for the fourth year in a row as the research and development body's reserves falling to their lowest level in a decade.
AWI's most recent annual report shows about $17 million was drawn down from reserves to cover the company's costs.
The issue of AWI's finances were a regular topic at today's AGM.
"Our work is constrained by finances," Mr Laurie said.
"We have to gradually pull back on spending."
AWI chief executive John Roberts said although AWI also received some funding from governments, it was forced to cancel its attendance at a number of international trade shows this year because of budgetary constraints.
Mr Roberts said AWI was able to cut back on spending during the COVID-19 period "while people were locked down" but believed it necessary to kickstart research and marketing efforts afterwards.
"We are going to be pulling back on a number of projects we had already started," he said.
Mr Roberts said shearing remained the "red hot issue" for the industry.
AWI had continued spending on shearer training, shearing shed design and biological wool harvesting.
"Shearing has been a massive investment for us," Mr Laurie agreed.
He said some marketing campaigns needed to continue.
"As a natural fibre we are in a tremendously strong position.
"But we still have to both promote and defend our fibre on the international stage."
Mr Laurie said it had been a challenging 12 months for many growers, particularly farmers in Western Australia who had been considering their future in the sheep and wool industry.
Those growers are still fighting the Federal government's promise to phase-out live sheep exports by sea.
Mr Laurie said AWI's role lay in research and marketing "not in policy development".
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