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About the Program

The Facts

About the program

Farming Together (Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program) – is a $14,934,000 Federal Government initiative that aims to provide farmers, fishers and foresters with knowledge, skills and materials on collaborative ideas, co-operative structures and collective strategies.

Farming Together aims to:

  • Improve knowledge of how co-operatives, collective strategies and supply chain negotiations can improve farmers’ returns.
  • Improve the knowledge of business models and collaboration options available to farmers and farm advisors
  • Improve the agriculture focused legal and financial expert advice available regarding the process, implementation and management of such business models

The project involves a hands-on team of 13 people backed by an Industry Advisory Group of eight agricultural leaders from across Australia.

Farming Together is a pilot program launched at a national forum on August 29, 2016 and will run until June 2018. The program is managed by Southern Cross University and is based at the SCU campus in Lismore, NSW.

To be eligible for the program, you must be a primary producer, or be part of a group of primary producers.

Funding is available for:

    • Financial and legal consulting services
    • Market research and development
    • Project management
    • Other services as required

Funding is not provided as direct financial support for capital or infrastructure purposes, travel, or ongoing wages.

Background

The Australian Federal Government listened to the challenges that growers face in their efforts to be successful and, from this, developed the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

The White Paper outlined the initiatives and commitments by the Australian Government for five priority areas for action, with $4 billion investment in our farmers, fishers and foresters. Our vision is to build a more profitable, more resilient and more sustainable agriculture sector to help drive a stronger economy.

Governance

The governance structure for the Program consists of:

  • The Program Steering Committee (PSC) is the program’s strategic decision-maker. It oversees progress of work plan delivery, giving consideration and approval of any input provided by the Industry Advisory Group (IAG) and provides guidance to Farming Together staff
  • The IAG provides input and support to the PSC and comprises people chosen to represent a balance of expertise
  • An independent monitoring, evaluation, review and improvement (MERI) consultancy.

What happens?

The program encourages the formation of farmer groups: either formal co-operatives, looser collaborations or collective strategy and bargaining groups. Applicants must be primary producers under criteria set by the Australia Tax Office.

The project pathway has been designed to be simple and immediately useful. It starts with a simple 20-minute online applicationThen, your group gets access to immediate assistance.

Farmers are assigned (or can choose) an expert for initial support. These experts have been selected for their professional skills and agricultural experience. Our list of more than 200 experts includes legal, strategic planning, marketing, group facilitation and other professional service provisders. They are from across Australia and largely from rural and regional areas, ensuring they have an understanding of primary production. Each service consultation (FREE for the farmer group) helps the group to clarify, refine and advance their project.

Then, more expert support can be assigned if needed, maybe with supply chain integration, marketing, web development, networking and membership drives, workshop facilitation, risk analysis or on-farm processing.

Farming Together has delivered hundreds of hours of consulting expertise to help our projects achieve better farm-gate returns and stronger collaboration. Applicants drive and maintain autonomy and authority over any decisions regarding their ag-businesses.

The Expert Support funding stream is still OPEN. Apply NOW.

Projects are assisted on a merit-based system where extent of impact, development of legacy projects and development of transferrable knowledge outputs are key considerations. Support from existing agencies, regional networks and enabling organisations are leveraged where possible. Knowledge and capacity building activities are intended to be catalytic in nature and aim to generate legacy benefits.

AgWorks.com.au is a registered domain of the Farming Together project.

The Process

Farming Together process