A bumper turn out to a very co-operative farming forum

The Coalition Government’s Farm Co-op​​eratives and Collaboration Pilot Program (FCCPP) has kicked off with widespread support from across the agricultural sector with over 200 industry members attending a national forum over two days.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce said the initial membership of the program’s Industry Advisory Group (IAG) is now in place with Mr Greg McNamara appointed as chair. Mr McNamara is a farmer and passionate advocate for co-operatives who brings 19 years’ experience as director of Norco Cooperative Ltd to the role.

“Mr McNamara has a wealth of practical, hands-on knowledge to lead the group, including his work at Norco, running his own dairy farm and experience across the horticulture, cattle and pig industries,” Mr Joyce said.

Mr Joyce, said Mr McNamara and the IAG would work closely with Southern Cross University, which is delivering the program.

“The IAG will provide ongoing advice to help drive the program to ensure it meets its objectives of providing expert advice and assistance to farmers across Australia looking to establish co-operatives or collaborative business models,” Minister Joyce said.

“There have also been a further seven IAG members selected so far for their understanding of, and exposure to, co-operatives, collective bargaining and other forms of collaboration across the agriculture sector.

“Co-operatives and other collaborative business models can help farmers band together to take greater ownership along the supply chain, boost their bargaining position and deliver increased returns at the farm gate.”

Minister Joyce said the Pilot Program’s inaugural national forum, held today and tomorrow in Kingscliff, NSW, brought together interested farmers and farming groups, farm advisers and people with expertise in co-operatives and other collaborative business models.

“Over 200 people from across the country have converged to network and learn about the potential of co-operatives, collective bargaining and other forms of collaboration in the agriculture sector,” Minister Joyce said.

“A range of experts are leading sessions on a wide range of topics, including Business Models and Governance, Collective Marketing, Capital Raising, Negotiation and Collaboration.”

The $13.8 million Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program is a key initiative of the government’s $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

Further information on how to get involved in the program is at: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/farm-collaboration or by emailing info@agworks.com.au

For those who couldn’t attend, the national forum is livestreamed at www.agworks.com.au​. Videos will also be archived for future access.

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