Six candidates will run for just two business director seats on the Australian Dairy Farmers board, the peak body confirmed this week.
It's likely to be a hotly-contested race with several high-profile candidates, two of them from New South Wales.
The November 25 election will see two dairy farmers elected plus one independent director as ADF president Terry Richardson and independent director Victoria Taylor retire from their roles.
South Australian Dairyfarmers' Association treasurer Rick Gladigau and Queensland Dairy Organisation president Brian Tessmann will continue on the ADF board.
NSW Farmers Dairy Committee chair Colin Thompson is currently an ADF director after filling a temporary vacancy but must now compete with the rest of the field for a permanent place at the board table.
Mr Thompson will be up against:
- Corangamite United Dairyfarmers of Victoria branch president Ben Bennett;
- South Australian dairy farmer and former state member of parliament Robert Brokenshire;
- NSW Farmers Dairy Committee member and Norco director Heath Cook, who farms at Dorrigo;
- ADIC Sustainability Task Force chair and Victorian dairy farmer Daryl Hoey; and
- Dairy Industry People Development Council chair and Victorian dairy farmer John Versteden, who is also a former ADF director.
While it's not mandatory for election to the ADF board, all of the six candidates were deemed by an independent assessment committee chaired by United Dairyfarmers of Victoria vice president Mark Billing to have "demonstrated the skills required as set by the board".
In contrast, there's only one candidate for the independent director role. Andreas Clark who finished up as Wine Australia chief executive in July after 15 years with the research, development and extension body seems likely to succeed Victoria Taylor.
An ADF spokesperson said, however, that Mr Clark would still need to be voted in by Australian Dairy Farmers members to be elected.
ADF has 458 members who are eligible to vote in the election, an increase of about 100 in the last 12 months.
To become an ADF member, dairy farmers must first be a member of one of its six state dairy farmer organisations and then specifically apply to the peak national body.