An inability to meet face-to-face did not stop the Orange branch of the NSW Farmers Association from holding an online annual general meeting recently to elect a new committee.
Life-long farmer and association member Graham Brown stepped into the chairman's role, replacing outgoing chairman Bruce Reynolds.
It is not his first time in the role and Mr Brown said members take turns on the committee.
Mr Brown said holding the meeting online had its difficulties, with new users to the system, and reports having to also be circulated electronically.
He said there was some reluctance about holding the meeting electronically but despite suggestions to postpone it went ahead.
Mr Brown said the branch is one of several in the region and has a diverse membership of primary producers, those with agricultural business interests, as well as semi-retired and lifestyle operators.
He said the members also have backgrounds working in orchards, vineyards, livestock and cropping.
Mr Brown said he has spent all his life in primary production, particularly around wool, beef and lambs.
However, he is now semi-retired and running cattle on a lifestyle block south of Orange.
"From a business perspective it's crazy not to be part of the association, if you don't have membership there's no one to lobby on your behalf," Mr Brown said.
"The local branch takes on issues as they arise, marketing, water, roads, Local Land Services, and is open to members using a variety of technologies."
He said the drought is still an issue when it comes to water storage.
"The drought hasn't broken but certainly since February it's been a blessing to have the rain that we've had," he said.
"Lock down for COVID-19 has had its difficulties for fruit harvest but worked [out], mostly."
He said previously the horticultural branch effectively lobbied the federal government for support on cherry exports.
"The current issues of trade again will be discussed individually but ultimately the peak industry bodies will influence [the] government in these matters," he said.
He said the branch is also involved in the Australian National Field Days.
During the online meeting, four members Alan Hawke, Trixie Hawke, Lynne Culverson and Wayne Culverson were presented with merit certificates for the amount of time they have volunteered at the event.
Also at the meeting, Dan McClymont became deputy chairman, Annette Brown secretary - with Mr McClymont as technical advisor, Sim Gaeta became treasurer, and Mrs Brown became the events organiser with support from branch members.
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