A hundred years of selling WA grain to the world
The CBH Group today celebrates 100 years of trading grain by its Marketing and Trading division.
On 21 March 1922 the first formal meeting of the inaugural trustees of the then Voluntary Co-operative Wheat Pool of Western Australia, or The Wheat Pool, was held in Perth.
Less than six months later, almost 85 per cent of Western Australian growers had pledged their grain to The Wheat Pool – a further 10 per cent pledged more than half.
In 1961, The Wheat Pool was renamed to The Grain Pool of Western Australia, to reflect its increasingly diverse portfolio of wheat, barley, oats, and later, lupins and canola.
In what marked a historic moment, The Grain Pool merged with Co-operative Bulk Handling (CBH) in 2002 – a move that integrated marketing, storage and handling to return greater value from the grain value chain to the growers of Western Australia.
CBH Group Chair Simon Stead said the co-operative is proud to have been marketing Western Australian grain for 100 years.
“It is an honour to be celebrating this significant milestone and the rich history of Western Australian growers’ ongoing involvement with their grain marketing,” Mr Stead said.
“We must acknowledge and credit the pioneering men and women of 100 years ago who sought to address an imbalance in the market. It is a wonderful legacy that we continue to build on today.
“The Wheat Pool was established to create marketing opportunities for WA grain and ultimately, increase grower returns – and a hundred years on, that purpose remains the same.”
The Wheat Pool has continued through World War II, the Great Depression and global trade tensions amid farming’s other challenges like floods, fires, droughts and volatile markets.
Now, CBH Marketing and Trading is Australia’s largest grain exporter delivering Western Australian grain to more than 200 customers in 30 countries around the world.
CBH Chief Marketing and Trading Officer Jason Craig said the co-operative's success is testament to its continued focus on WA growers and long-term customer relationships.
“We are still here because of our unwavering commitment to Western Australian growers,” Mr Craig said.
“Also, we have not lost sight of the importance of our customers, some of whom have been buying grain from Western Australian farmers for more than 40 years.
“Marketing and Trading and its predecessors have continued to play a significant role in our grain growing communities and to the Western Australian economy more broadly.”
Marketing and Trading’s contribution to the Western Australian economy was recently recognised at the 2021 Western Australian Export Awards, where it was named the Western Australian Exporter of the Year.
To celebrate the centenary, Marketing and Trading will be hosting an event in Perth during September. Former employees of The Grain Pool who have not yet been contacted are encouraged to register their interest in attending via email to firstname.lastname@example.org