Professor Paul Wood successfully held off a challenge for the position of independent director on the Dairy Australia board.
New Zealand-based candidate Mark Neal had forced an election after garnering 100 member signatures in support.
Ahead of the vote count, Prof Wood said it was the first time a Dairy Australia (DA) independent director had faced a contested election and he was "not taking anything for granted".
Pointing out that Mr Neal's application had been rejected by the Board Selection Committee, Prof Wood said the nature of the election had changed.
"It's no longers about the skill set, it's a popularity contest," he said.
"That's the process and there's nothing wrong with the but it's significant change from being a skills-based board."
Mark Neal, whose family farms in NSW, is a dairy systems specialist with DairyNZ, the equivalent of DA in NZ, and trained as an agricultural economist at the University of Sydney.
In his three-minute address to the DA annual general meeting, Mr Neal said it was important the board held management to account.
"There is room for improvement in accountability to levy payers and transparency for dairy farmers - they are the ones paying the bills," Mr Neal said.
The early vote count showed votes collected prior to the AGM were very close, with Mr Neal slightly ahead on 39.93 per cent "for" and Prof Wood at 39.57pc, but after votes were taken from the floor, it was announced Prof Wood had been successful.