Farming Together-backed co-op seals rebate win

Membership of a Farming Together-backed co-operative has earned some north-west NSW croppers a total 200% return on their membership in its first two deals.

GrowerCo’s second bulk-handling rebate deal announced last Friday (December 15) puts an average $1000 into the pockets of members using the Louis Dreyfus facility at Moree. The payment for the 2017 harvest of $1/tonne is up from the initial rebate of 0.65c/tonne paid mid-year. The latest payment is extended to chickpeas in addition to the previous deal for wheat and barley receivals.

GrowerCo is being supported by the Farming Together program with $154,450 funding to develop a business model around grain storage, distribution supply chain and logistics.

The co-op was formed by growers in 2016 to improve the economics of moving grain by cutting handling and freight costs to Newcastle Port through rail use. GrowerCo’s program and business manager John Picone (pictured) hailed the latest deal as a ‘win-win’ saying: “Louis Dreyfus was looking to boost receivals in a very, very dry year. I think they’re pretty happy with the way the deal is developing. I think they’ll be in it for the long term.”

The members using the facility over the two harvests will see a 50% return on the latest deal, which follows a 150% return on the previous deal. John said the difference was largely due to 30% lower yields. “The crop was well down on last year but the quality is just exceptional. We thought a lot would be going to domestic markets for feed but the protein levels are way up high and it will be exported. It’s gone up two or three grades on last year,” he said.

Farming Together program director Lorraine Gordon said: “The deal struck on behalf of the GrowerCo members highlights the dual value of the co-op structure. It enables immediate gains while strengthening the case for long-term strategic improvements. We endorse the work done by John and his board for the benefit of their fellow farmers.”

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