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13 April 2018: An expanded toolkit for forming and running a co-op is available for no-cost through the highly popular Farming Together program.

The online DIY resources range from business plan templates and tips to share-transfer forms. There are samples of meeting minutes, balanced scorecards and disclosure statements. There are complete instructions on how to register your co-op, how to transfer shares and how to compile membership and director registers.

The resources range from print-out samples to animated, self-paced learning courses.

The tools have been compiled as part of Farming Together, an Australian Government initiative to help farmers form co-ops and collaborations to secure better margins.

Farming Together program director Lorraine Gordon said: “The resources we have assembled are those requested by the 132 co-ops we are supporting through our free Co-op Builder on the Farming Together website (http://co-opbuilder.farmingtogether.com.au).

“Among those groups more than 120 have sought assistance with these online tools in their journey to formal corporate registration.”

The tools have been produced by Farming Together’s Systems and Knowledge Portal Manager Dr Cathy Byrne, assisted by Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals consultants and Australia’s foremost co-operative law experts, Robyn Donnelly and Elizabeth Makin.

Robyn, an adjunct senior lecturer at the Centre for Law and Justice, Charles Sturt University, was a legal manager with the NSW Registr

y of Co-operatives & Associations and a team leader on the Inter-State Working Group for Australia’s Co-operatives National Law. Elizabeth Makin is a lawyer with 10 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector and grassroots-led social change.

The Farm Co-operative and Collaboration Program (known as Farming Together) is a two-year, $13.8m initiative from the Australian Government designed to help agricultural groups value-add, secure premium pricing, scale-up production, attract capital investment, earn new markets or secure lower input costs.

Farming Together pilot program is being delivered by Southern Cross University and runs until 30 June 2018. The program delivery team comprises highly experienced senior team drawn from a wide range of commodity groups from across Australia and is backed by an industry advisory group representing experts from Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and NSW. More? www.farmingtogether.com.au