Board Member Position Description

Agricultural Bureau of South Australia Incorporated

The Agricultural Bureau of South Australia (The Bureau) is a not-for-profit organisation run by farmers for farmers. Membership is for everyone associated with or interested in farming, agricultural development and education. The Bureau helps to bridge the gap between scientist and farmer and assists its members in working together on issues of common interest.

The Bureau has a proud history in South Australia, serving agriculture since 1888. There are around 60 active branches spread throughout the state, with groups meeting regularly to exchange ideas, discuss farming practices and issues and work on common challenges together.

The Board of the Agricultural Bureau of South Australia

The board comprises Bureau members from each of the regions of South Australia. Board members are nominated by Bureau branches and elected by the members from their respective region.

In addition, the board comprises ex-officio (non-voting) members from key government agencies and stakeholders of the Bureau.

The board exists to:

  • represent the interests of Agricultural Bureau members
  • act as stewards of the Agricultural Bureau movement in SA
  • promote excellence in agriculture

The board achieves its aims through:

  • communicating and connecting with Bureau branches and members
  • representing the interests of members to government and other agencies
  • promoting and supporting the extension of agricultural R&D
  • managing the funds entrusted to the Agricultural Bureau

Meeting requirements

The Board currently schedules two face-to-face meetings and meets for a monthly teleconference in between these meetings.

Board members are paid a sitting fee to attend face-to-face meetings and are reimbursed for travel and accommodation costs.

Board members are expected to contribute additional time to Bureau tasks between meetings and by participating on working group committees. Working groups meet as required by teleconference and at face-to-face meetings of the Board.

The total time commitment of Board Members is estimated at 100 hours per year (approximately 8 hours per month).

The role of Board members

All board members are accountable to members for the effective leadership and direction of the Bureau.
This includes:

  • Developing a relationship with members and regional branch executives
  • Gaining an understanding of branch concerns and issues
  • Acting as the conduit for information between the board and branches
  • Attend Board meetings, and actively participate in open, honest discussion and decisions
  • Contribute to Board working groups as required
  • Attend committees or community meetings when able to do so

Board members are encouraged to make contact with the Branch Executive of each branch in their region at least once a year.

There are a number of financial and legal obligations required of all board members. This includes:

  • Acting in good faith with the best interests of the Bureau at all times
  • Know and understand the Bureau’s financial position and financial viability
  • Declare any Conflict of Interest and if a conflict of interest, remove themselves from discussions and decisions
  • Act diligently and carefully making reasonable inquires to ensure the Board and the Bureau is operating efficiently, effectively, appropriately and legally in achieving its objectives and goals
  • Maintain confidentiality and privacy of information
  • Be a financial member of their local branch
  • Role of the Chair

    In addition to the above, the Chair provides:

    • Leadership and direction for the Board to function effectively
      • Finalise and prioritise agenda times in conjunction with the board secretariat
      • Recommend board structure and working group membership
      • Ensure Board meetings are effectively run and minutes properly reflect Board decisions
      • Induct new board members
      • Encourage individual board members to make an effective contribution
    • A link between the Board and key stakeholders, optimising relationships with Ministers and state agencies
    • An ongoing relationship with Bureau administration staff
    • Representation of the Board to external stakeholders and organisations
    • Completion of tasks delegated to the Chair by the Board
  • Role of the Deputy Chair

    Where the Deputy Chair acts as the Chair they are vested with full responsibilities and authorities of the Chair. The Deputy provides support and advice to the Chair as required.

  • Role of the Treasurer

    In addition to the role of a board member, the Treasurer is responsible for:

    • Management and direction of the Board’s finances
    • Development of budgets, accounts and financial statements for the Board’s approval
    • Keeping the Board informed about its financial duties and responsibilities.
    • Providing advice to the Board on the financial implications of Board recommendations including impact of strategic plans and operational matters
    • Working closely with Board members and staff to plan the annual budget.
    • Confirm that the financial resources meet present and future needs.
    • Understand the accounting procedures and key internal controls, so as to be able to assure the Board of its financial integrity.
    • Ensure that the accounts are properly audited, that accepted recommendations of the auditors are implemented, and meet the auditor at least once a year.
    • Formally present the accounts and future budget at the AGM, drawing attention to important points.
    • Monitor any investment activity and ensure its consistency with policies, aims, objectives and legal responsibilities
  • Role of the Deputy Treasurer

    Where the Deputy Treasurer acts as the Treasurer they are vested with full responsibilities and authorities of the Treasurer. The Deputy provides support and advice to the Treasurer as required.

  • Role of Ex-Officio Board Members

    Ex-officio board members are appointed as nominated representatives of key government agencies and stakeholders of the Bureau. Ex-officio members are non-voting members of the Board, however are significant contributors to the strategic direction of the Bureau.

    An ex-officio member’s primary role is to provide a linkage and communication conduit between the Bureau and the agency that they represent

    Ex-officio members are expected to:

    • Act in good faith with the best interests of the relationship between the Bureau and their respective agency
    • Communicate and work closely with Board Members
    • Prepare for meetings
    • Attend board meetings, and actively participate in open, honest discussion
    • Where agreed attend working group meetings
    • Declare and manage any potential conflict of interest, including if a conflict between the interests of their agency and the Bureau arises, by absenting themselves from discussions
    • Maintain confidentiality and privacy of information

Board member skills and attributes

All board members must have the following skills and attributes

  • A commitment to their local branch and the Bureau movement
  • Strong industry knowledge and understanding of agricultural issues
  • Established rural, regional and community networks and reputation
  • Strong interpersonal communication and relational skills
  • Adequate level of computer literacy and ability to respond promptly to email communications
  • Finance, business and corporate governance experience
  • Ability to work cohesively and collegially in a board environment
  • Ability to clearly represent and communicate the interests of members in an assertive and professional manner