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About Farming Together

Pilot Program’s impact
 

Between 2016 and 2018, Australia experienced its sharpest increase in the number of new agricultural co-operatives. FTP supported 94 established, forming or newly registered agricultural co-operatives, including the formation of at least 70 new agricultural cooperatives.

Initially tasked by the Commonwealth to reach 2000 primary producers, support 100 farming groups and grant-fund 15 groups, by 2018 Farming Together had reached:

  • 28,500 primary producers
  • 23 industries
  • 730 groups
  • and funded 51 funded projects.

 

 On average the program exceeded all targets by more than 300 per cent.

Through the program individual groups were able to achieve greater returns at the farmgate. Examples include:

  • A milk cooperative is receiving a higher farmgate price for their unique milk pool.
  • A fishing cooperative has enabled fishers to sell by-catch, earning them up to 300% increases in prices for by-catch.
  • A group of garlic growers sold out its first season at double the market prices a few months after forming their cooperative. The co-operative is attracting larger order and increased prices for their garlic and has secured sizable discounts on their mulch hay.
  • A timber processor co-operative has established potential markets, both domestically and internationally. The group is in the process of setting up a processing facility to turn the waste product of milling into plasticised products such as rail
  • A group of indigenous growers are now achieving price premiums on indigenous branded products.
  • An alpaca fibre co-operative exported its first commercial shipment of 11 tonnes of raw alpaca fleece to China. It is collecting for another 10 tonne export order and has had buying interest from Turkey and India. Additionally, it supplied almost five tonne of fleece to Australian
  • A group of northern NSW farmers converted their $30,250 grant into a $1.5m investment in less than 12 months, and now have projected a $50m investment over the next five years to convert their floodplain farms into macadamia

 

In its first year, FTP spent $9.21m and generated $20.45M of value to production, $14.3M of which to household income and created 131 full-time-equivalent jobs.

FTP improved the number and accessibility of freely-available resources. Some of which were Australian firsts:

  • Australian first agriculture co-op specific co-op builder tools developed in partnership with Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals, compliant with regulatory requirements in all Australian states and made available for free online to co-operatives from any sector (eg: health, housing, rural services)
  • Co-op manual developed in partnership with Co-ops NSW;
  • Fact sheets on collaboration, business structures, and a business plan guide;
  • A monthly e-bulletin with more than 10,000 subscribers.

These resources were developed to provide an ongoing foundation from which future collaborations can learn and develop – ensuring long-term legacy of the program.