About the Program

Farming Together

Type: Webpage
Knowledge level: Introductory

About the program

Farming Together (Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program) – was a $14,934,000 Federal Government initiative that aims to provide farmers, fishers and foresters with knowledge, skills and materials on collaborative ideas, co-operative structures and collective strategies.

Farming Together aimed to:

  • Improve knowledge of how co-operatives, collective strategies and supply chain negotiations can improve farmers’ returns.
  • Improve the knowledge of business models and collaboration options available to farmers and farm advisors
  • Improve the agriculture focused legal and financial expert advice available regarding the process, implementation and management of such business models

Farming Together was a pilot program launched at a national forum on August 29, 2016 which ran until June 2018. The program was managed by Southern Cross University from the SCU campus in Lismore, NSW.

Funding opportunities are now closed.

Background

The Australian Federal Government listened to the challenges that growers face in their efforts to be successful and, from this, developed the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

The White Paper outlined the initiatives and commitments by the Australian Government for five priority areas for action, with $4 billion investment in our farmers, fishers and foresters. Our vision is to build a more profitable, more resilient and more sustainable agriculture sector to help drive a stronger economy.

Governance

The governance structure for the Program consists of:

  • The Program Steering Committee (PSC) was the program’s strategic decision-maker. It oversees progress of work plan delivery, giving consideration and approval of any input provided by the Industry Advisory Group (IAG) and provides guidance to Farming Together staff
  • The IAG provided input and support to the PSC and comprises people chosen to represent a balance of expertise
  • An independent monitoring, evaluation, review and improvement (MERI) consultancy.

What happens?

The program encouraged the formation of farmer groups: either formal co-operatives, looser collaborations or collective strategy and bargaining groups. Applicants must be primary producers under criteria set by the Australia Tax Office.

The project pathway was designed to be simple and immediately useful.

Farmers were assigned (or could choose) an expert for initial support. The experts were selected for their professional skills and agricultural experience. Our list of more than 200 experts includes legal, strategic planning, marketing, group facilitation and other professional service providers. They are from across Australia and largely from rural and regional areas, ensuring they have an understanding of primary production. Each service consultation (FREE for the farmer group) helps the group to clarify, refine and advance their project.

Then, more expert support was assigned if needed, maybe with supply chain integration, marketing, web development, networking and membership drives, workshop facilitation, risk analysis or on-farm processing.

Farming Together has delivered hundreds of hours of consulting expertise to help our projects achieve better farm-gate returns and stronger collaboration. Applicants drive and maintain autonomy and authority over any decisions regarding their ag-businesses.

Expert Support  – APPLICATIONS ARE CLOSED

Projects are assisted on a merit-based system where extent of impact, development of legacy projects and development of transferable knowledge outputs are key considerations. Support from existing agencies, regional networks and enabling organisations are leveraged where possible. Knowledge and capacity building activities are intended to be catalytic in nature and aim to generate legacy benefits.

FarmingTogether.com.au is a registered domain of the Farming Together project.

The Process

Australia - Farming Together
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