Australia’s sheep, lamb and wool producers are the nation’s keenest to form collaborations, according to the national Farming Together program.
In its first 10 months, the campaign encouraging farmers, fishers and foresters to form groups has attracted more sheep, lamb and wool projects than any other commodity group.
A total 23.2% of applications have come from the sector; sheep and lamb producers comprised 14% of total applications, with wool producers lodging 9.2% of applications.
Beef, grain and horticulture producers were also keen to form collaborations.
The program attracted 21.1% of its applications from the beef sector, 19% from cropping projects and 17.8% of applications from vegetable, fruit and wine growers.
Farming Together has had interactions with 700 groups representing more than 16,000 farmers nationally.
The Australian Government-supported program recently announced first-round funding of $4.5m to farmer groups. In addition, it provided the groups with independent expert advice valued at $550,000.
Farming Together program director Lorraine Gordon (pictured) said: “We had applications from groups across the country – both large and small. The large-scale commodity groups, like sheep, beef and cropping, predominated but we also had robust interest from smaller, emerging ag-commodities.
“We note a strong interest among organic producers and locavore co-operatives as well as fish and seafood groups.
“There is clearly an appetite for collaborative models across the nation’s primary producers. Farming Together is exactly the right program at the right time and in the right place.”
Independent specialists are still available through the program at no-cost and cover areas such as financial advice, contracts, co-op formation, marketing, packaging, logistics, food technology, data/IT and capacity building.