Presidency, no contest for Schoen who has eye on Treasurer’s job at NSWFarmers

Derek Schoen will not seek presidency re-election but run for Treasurer of NSWFarmers at this month's conference.
Derek Schoen will not seek presidency re-election but run for Treasurer of NSWFarmers at this month's conference.

ANNOUNCING he would not recontest the presidency at the coming NSWFarmers conference, Derek Schoen instead, would nominate for the treasurer’s position.

“I have received an enormous amount of feedback from membership to stay on the executive,” Mr Schoen said.

Members were asking why he would not recontest the presidency, but it “gets finicky” he said.

“If I was re-elected president, under the constitution I would have to resign in a year’s time and then the vice-president would take on the role.

“I don’t feel that is the correct way for a president to be installed. A president should be installed at an annual conference and the position should be the full term of the motion cycle.”

However, membership feedback called on Mr Schoen to remain on the Board.

“They would appreciate me remaining on the Board to enable a strong leadership team of experience.

“We have four new board members currently with only one term’s experience. Members feel that keeping experienced directors would give guidance to the major projects underway.

“There is the new magazine (The Farmer) that is lifting the profile of agriculture and the positivity of our members. It’s been really well received but the project needs to be scrutinised for the next two years until it is fully functioning.

“We also have the purchase of the new building and that needs to move on smoothly as well as relocation of our offices.”

Mr Schoen was commenting on the sale of the Chandos Street building and purchase of new premises on the Pacific Highway.

“The new premises is a great site and currently returning well on a commercial sense, but the potential upside in any zoning or future development would be quite substantial,” he said.

“We are very excited about this purchase and I believe it really underpins our investment portfolio.”

Mr Schoen and wife, Leanne, run a mixed beef cattle, prime lamb, cropping and irrigation enterprise on “Killeneen”, Corowa, with the farm operations being managed by their son, Murk and his wife, Kate.

He joined NSWFarmers in 2000 after a long term as councillor of Corowa Shire Council where he was deputy mayor before retiring.

“I joined the local branch and immediately got the job no-one wants, secretary, but fairly soon after, the branch chair became available,” he said.

From annual conference Mr Schoen became an executive councillor and joined the Rural Affairs Committee for a year, then the Cattle Committee and three years later was elected as chair.

Mr Schoen said his main concern was that the association was at a positive the turning-point, and in a very good position.

“But to maintain a steady hand on the tiller I think does require a bit of experience and corporate knowledge.

“That is vitally important for an organisation like NSWFarmers. We could potentially have a quantum shift in the make-up of the board and I think to have experienced directors there is vitally important.

“However, all board directors are elected at one time as we don’t have a staggered election cycle, so you can lose a lot of that corporate knowledge in one go.

“That’s why there should be a mix of old and new.”