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5 July 2018: Australia’s first farmer-grown mutual fund has appointed its inaugural advisory committee and announced its project partners, supported by Farming Together.

An Australian Government-backed program, Farming Together helped establish Farmers Mutual Ltd (FML) as a legacy project – and last week welcomed its launch in Canberra.

The event saw the announcement of FML’s business partners, including global commercial insurer Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Brisbane-based Agri Business Consulting Group and Sydney-based Procare Group.

At the event the inaugural Farmer Advisory Committee was elected. The committee will act as farmer liaison with the board to shape existing protection products, share risk mitigation information and help develop new products.

FML is now accepting memberships and offering fire and hail crop protection. It will follow up with protection for general farming assets in the coming months.

The launch was held concurrently with Farming Together’s national forum last week.

Launch attendees heard from the new business partners as well as the FML chair, leading Sydney lawyer Ron Heinrich AM and FML director, South Australian cropper John Gladigau.

FML Actuary Ben Ko said: “The Canberra events were an opportunity for the board and management team to get feedback and continue to shape FML to match the members’ vision. There was a very high level of enthusiasm among attendees.”

Based in Sydney, FML is a nationally focussed not-for-profit formed between Australian farmers, industry groups and experts in the agricultural insurance industry. It is led by agri-insurance specialist Alex Cohn as its CEO.

Mr Cohn explained: “FML has been instigated by farmers, for farmers seeking to take control of their risk management by pooling resources, sharing skills and engaging with farm businesses at a grassroots level to deliver products which add value to their businesses.”

A not-for-profit discretionary mutual fund, FML aims to see farmers sharing in risk mitigation.

Accumulated surpluses will be retained by the fund for reinvestment into research and development into improving risk protection product offerings for members.

Farming Together program director Lorraine Gordon said: “As a farmer and an agri-financier I know there is appetite for this kind of fund. Furthermore, that it should be initiated and managed by farmers themselves makes it even more appealing to primary producers.”

“Farmers from across Australia are now invited to join this exciting initiative,” Mr Ko said.

For more information, they can contact their nearest FML Farmer Director:

  • John Gladigau (Northern Mallee SA) – 0428 874 315
  • Andrew Earle (Thallon SW QLD) – 0427 565 193
  • Dr Kelly Pearce (Yealering WA) – 0417 964 473
  • Mark Swift (Central NSW) – 0429 890 160
  • John Woods (Goondiwindi QLD) – 0427 790 086
  • Lorraine Gordon (New England Tablelands NSW) – 0417 317 390

Pictured at the Canberra launch were (L to R): Farming Together program director Lorraine Gordon with Martin Birch (CTO, Farmers Mutual Management Services Company), Alex Cohn (CEO Farmers Mutual Limited) and David Ward (General Manager/Chief Agronomist Agri Business Consulting Group)