The Big Co-op Conversation – Future Proofing Aussie Food

Join us for a live stream conversation from Primex with our host, respected local reporter, Michael Cavanagh.

Join us for a live broadcast from Primex 2021, Australia’s Sustainable Farming Expo, in Casino NSW where we’ll be talking directly to farmers about their challenges and the opportunities in agriculture with a focus on how farmers control their supply chain from the paddock to the plate.

This is the grand finale of our Co-op conversations, the hugely successful live stream conversation focusing farmers who are successfully using co-operative farming business models.

Join renowned agricultural journalist Michael Cavanagh, as he talks to producers in diary, horticulture, fishing & beef. You’ll get live conversation and a birds eye view of Primex from our roving camera crew.

You’ll also hear from local MP’s, Directors and CEO’s of some of the countries most successful agriculture Co-operatives, including NORCO, Casino Food Co-op, OZ Group & Clarence River Fishing Co-op.

Farmers, fishers and foresters around the country will be able to view the broadcast from anywhere via livestream on their mobile phone or other device.

Presenter: Michael Cavanagh

Guest Speakers:

  • The Hon David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management
  • The Hon Kevin Hogan MP, Member for Page, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister
  • Melina Morrison, CEO, BCCM
  • Michael Hampson, CEO, NORCO
  • John Seccombe, Chair, Northern Co-operative Meat Company
  • Satpal Singh Gill, Chair, OzGroup Co-op
  • Larry McHugh, CEO, Marquis Macadamias
  • Danielle Adams, GM, Clarence River Fishermen’s Co-op
  • Kevin Franey, Partner, TNR
  • Russell Mehmet, Director, Willis Tower Watson
  • Nigel Semmens, Beef Product Manager, Australian Genetics

When: Saturday, 22 May 2021, 12-2pm AEST

Watch The Big Co-op Conversation – Future Proofing Aussie Food online!

Co-operative Conversations episode 10

The Capital Conundrum

Are you a farmer, fisher or forester interested in setting up, or improving the running of your co-operative, and you’ve been told that it’s harder to raise capital in a co-op or to obtain loans? This conversation is for you.

In this episode of Co-operative Conversations you will hear from leading agriculture and business advisors about how farmers can raise the capital they need to run successful co-operative businesses. Our panel will discuss the structure and management of capital raising for co-operatives, as well as tax, business plans and investment, and how co-ops allow individual farmers to pool capital and raise funds together for shared investments as opposed to going it alone.

With primary production seen as crucial in helping the economy and local Australian communities recover from the pandemic, there is an increasing focus on getting the right investment to grow agricultural businesses especially value adding.

Across Australia, there are 229 agri-business co-operatives, what options are available for them? What are the opportunities and risks? How does it work differently for co-operatives and other collaborative business structures? What can primary producers be putting in place for successful outcomes? And where can they go for help? Hear all about capital raising from the people who help farmers to help themselves.

Roundtable Guests:

  • Simon Lane – Co-operative Farming envoy and former Chair, Almondco
  • Ivan Giuricich – Chief Financial Officer, Marquis Macadamias
  • Marcel van Doremaele – Group Executive, Country Banking, Rabobank
  • Robyn Donnelly, Co-operative Policy and Legal Advisor
  • Peter Hunt, Managing Partner, Mutuo (UK)

Episode host – Pete Lewis

Join Pete Lewis for an inspiring interview series as he explores the journeys of some of Australia’s most interesting and successful co-operatives. Pete’s long and varied experience as a journalist specialising in agriculture will ensure he gets to the heart of the issues you want to hear about.

 

Co-operative Conversations episode 9 part 2: roundtable

Buying together to benefit members and communities

This roundtable examines group buying and how co-ops add value and provide services through innovation and understanding their members, their customers and their communities. Our panelists are drawn from businesses that who have successfully harnessed the power of their members to collaboratively purchase and/or supply food, agricultural products and related services.

Instead of relying on or being dictated to by others, discover how they have created their own supply chain, by using collective buying to benefit a group. Pooling money and resources to create bigger opportunities helps to support their members and agricultural businesses with key inputs at better prices, delivering greater value and leading to increased profits and sustainability.

The power of collaboration can also be turned to ethically sourcing and procurement goods and services form the local community which is another way a co-operative creates value and generates local economic development. Co-operatives act as anchor businesses in a community, sustaining social and economic health for the long term.

Our panelists bring a wealth of practical business leadership skills within co-operatives. There are lynchpins within their local communities.

Join us to find out how these co-ops got started, how they evolved, reaching consensus, establishing community engagement and support, in order to grow and prosper.

Join journalist Pete Lewis with special guests.

Episode host – Pete Lewis

Join Pete Lewis for an inspiring interview series as he explores the journeys of some of Australia’s most interesting and successful co-operatives. Pete’s long and varied experience as a journalist specialising in agriculture will ensure he gets to the heart of the issues you want to hear about.

 

Co-operative Conversations episode 9 part 1: interview

In conversation with Kerry Murphy – The co-operative heart of the community

If there’s something Kerry Murphy doesn’t know about running a community co-operative, it’s not worth knowing. She has been general secretary of Victoria’s influential, award-winning and profitable rural supplies co-operative TAFCO, which managed to reinvent itself in innovative ways to continue to benefit members following cessation of the members’ traditional farming commodity (tobacco crop). after the decline of the tobacco industry in many innovative ways. Today, they supply retail goods and farming services to a range of retail customers including primary producers, hobby farmers, tradespeople and townsfolk.

TAFCO has a gross annual revenue of $7 million, providing a dividend to its 620 members who are primarily farmers and also supports its community and industry with social and economic development initiatives.

Kerry was fundamental in launching and growing the Myrtleford Farmers Markets and has helped source funds for other local economic development initiatives. other schemes, such as the free delivery service to farms. Hear about how she makes it all work when Pete Lewis interviews her for Co-operative Conversations.

How do they work to attract and engage farmers? How do they attract loyal customers and retain community support? How do they work together? How do they build relationships with other traders? How does this benefit the wider community in which they operate? Kerry is very experienced at motivating people behind her community and has many insights on raising funds and attracting government grants and has provided relevant workshops to new and existing agricultural industries. Within its governance, TAFCO has established several  sub-committees to further explore options to grow and improve business and member service – including finance and governance, special projects and water, always an issue in the valley’s environment.

Episode host – Pete Lewis

Join Pete Lewis for an inspiring interview series as he explores the journeys of some of Australia’s most interesting and successful co-operatives. Pete’s long and varied experience as a journalist specialising in agriculture will ensure he gets to the heart of the issues you want to hear about.

Kerry Murphy TAFCO credit Josh Robenstone

 

Co-operative Conversations episode 8 part 2: roundtable

The people factor: How to attract, keep and engage membership in co-ops

It doesn’t matter if you’re big or small, often the most crucial part of forming and growing co-operatives is the membership. From putting the right structures in place in the beginning to keeping members engaged and moving in the same direction through growth and success and trials and tribulations, there are plenty of ways you can get it wrong or right.

Pete Lewis talks to expert agricultural leaders about the importance of members and how to make it work.

They will share their unique experiences with membership attraction, retention and relationship-building.  All of their stories are very unique, but they all have lifetimes of essential advice for farmers interested in  future-proofing Australian agriculture, or in discovering why co-operative farming is so successful. What is the membership advantage? How do you put the right systems in place to ensure members feel it’s fair? Do members have to like one another? And how do you attract, retain and grow quality members? This is a meaty, must-watch roundtable.

Join journalist Pete Lewis with special guests.

Episode host – Pete Lewis

Join Pete Lewis for an inspiring interview series as he explores the journeys of some of Australia’s most interesting and successful co-operatives. Pete’s long and varied experience as a journalist specialising in agriculture will ensure he gets to the heart of the issues you want to hear about.

 

Co-operative Conversations episode 8 part 1: interview

A conversation with Emma Robinson, Beef Collaboration Project Inc

North Queensland-based Emma is passionate about family farming, beef and business models. She believes the co-operative business model can help future proof the family farm and she is on a mission to make it work, via the Beef Collaboration Project Inc. Pete Lewis talks to Emma about her strategy for building producer membership and providing scalable opportunities in the bush.

After many years of studying business models and looking at agricultural practice around the world, the inspiring new-generation farmer believes successful farming is all about building relationships, collaborating – and becoming price makers not takers. Listen to her fascinating journey spreading the word about collaboration in farming and how much it can benefit agriculture and the economy. Establishing a co-op is not the easiest road to take. Emma has some excellent insights into the reality of setting up co-operative, what’s involved in acquiring members, and why she is so committed to the model. If you want to understand the steps to setting up a Co-op from the ground up, this is one interview you will find valuable.

Episode host – Pete Lewis

Join Pete Lewis for an inspiring interview series as he explores the journeys of some of Australia’s most interesting and successful co-operatives. Pete’s long and varied experience as a journalist specialising in agriculture will ensure he gets to the heart of the issues you want to hear about.

 

Co-operative Conversations episode 7 part 2: roundtable

How to leverage paddock to plate and farmer-owned

This is about how co-ops can give you a marketing advantage that is leveraging the zeitgeist about Aussie produced and paddock to plate.

Hear all about the innovative co-operatives marketing truffles, dairy products and berries and using their collaborative structure as a powerful marketing tool when Pete Lewis speaks to the experts from some of Australia’s most innovative farming co-operatives.

They will share how they take advantage of their co-operative structure and membership for consumer advantage. What difference does farmer-owned make to their bottom line? And how exactly do they push their food provenance, paddock to plate and made and produced in Australia credentials? Are their difficulties finding consensus in marketing and branding? What kind of support have they received?

They also explore world best practice and talk about the importance of distribution, community and educating consumers.

Join journalist Pete Lewis with special guests.

Episode host – Pete Lewis

Join Pete Lewis for an inspiring interview series as he explores the journeys of some of Australia’s most interesting and successful co-operatives. Pete’s long and varied experience as a journalist specialising in agriculture will ensure he gets to the heart of the issues you want to hear about.

 

Co-operative Conversations episode 7 part 1: interview

The co-operative advantage

Fiercely proud of their 100% Australian ownership, Oz Group Co-op is passionate about providing their community with the freshest blueberries, raspberries and blackberries through sustainable farming.

Formed in 2001 as a partnership between four Coffs Coast growers. It became a co-op in 2013. Founded by members of the Coffs Coast Sikh community in an innovative pivot after the decline of the local banana industry and has grown to be the biggest blueberry supplier in Australia.

Pete Lewis talks to Stephen Thandi, Oz Group Chair and local businessman – he also owns and runs Coffs City Glass and Aluminium and Northern Beaches Glass and Aluminium.

His path to running a berry co-op is an interesting one: he started farming as a hobby after work and on weekends when a tenant left his farmland in a derelict state after the downturn in the local banana industry. After completing a Certificate III in Horticulture, he joined Oz Berries in 2005 in order to focus on farming with the knowledge that his fruit would be quality controlled, packed and marketed for him. Stephen was encouraged by other members of the co-op to nominate for the board of directors in 2014 due to his life experience running his glass businesses for 30 years.

He sees the strength of the co-op in its collective nature: that when working together local farmers can achieve better things. He will talk about their transition from bananas to berries to the large business they are today, their journey into America and a Driscoll’s partnership, as well as how the different farmers all managed to work together in order to achieve stronger buying and selling power.

Episode host – Pete Lewis

Join Pete Lewis for an inspiring interview series as he explores the journeys of some of Australia’s most interesting and successful co-operatives. Pete’s long and varied experience as a journalist specialising in agriculture will ensure he gets to the heart of the issues you want to hear about.

 

Co-operative Conversations episode 6 part 2: roundtable

Breaking the mould: How small producers can gain power and position by working together

During this roundtable we examine how some of Australia’s most interesting co-operatives have rethought how they do business by smaller businesses joining forces and increasing their yields, the role of strategic partnerships, maximising returns and competing on a global scale.

This was about businesses coming together to create scale, compete with the corporates and access markets they couldn’t reach on their own, and the panel will explore how to make such collaborative cohesion work. What are the processes they need to put in place? How do they make co-operative working fair and equitable? How has it enabled them to compete on the world stage? What kind of improvements have they seen in their own businesses? And what happens when it all goes wrong?

Roundtable guests include:

  • Justin Phillips – Assisting Consultant/Secretary,  Limestone Coast Fisherman’s Co-operative
  • Danielle Adams – Chief Executive Officer, Clarence River Fisherman’s Co-operative
  • Greg Wall – Former Group CEO of Capricorn Society and Director of the International Co-operative Alliance
  • Melina Morrison – Chief Executive Officer, BCCM

Episode host – Pete Lewis

Join Pete Lewis for an inspiring interview series as he explores the journeys of some of Australia’s most interesting and successful co-operatives. Pete’s long and varied experience as a journalist specialising in agriculture will ensure he gets to the heart of the issues you want to hear about.

 

Co-operative Conversations episode 6 part 1: interview

Reclaiming market power: from competitors to collaborators

The Limestone Coast Fishermen’s Co-op is locally owned and operated by 27 local fishing family businesses. Just two years old, it started out of necessity and is growing to become a very important part of its local community.

Southern Rock Lobster is South Australia’s largest wild catch fishery by value, producing 1539 tonnes valued at $136 million. The co-op began when a group of crayfish fishermen from across South East South Australia’s Limestone Coast saw a need to proactively address the structural change occurring in their industry. They strongly believe their move to a co-operative structure has not only loosened the grip of corporately-owned factories and processors on their local seafood industry, it has also brought longer term benefits for the smaller, generational fishing families and their coastal towns and communities.

This took collaboration in order to combine their supply volume and power and access the export and global markets they could not reach alone. They pooled their resources into a business they now own together.

They have been successful and are now growing with support from other co-ops like the Geraldton Fisherman’s Co-op. They recently secured  $348,000 from the PIRSA Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to develop a facility in Beachport which, combined with their existing facility in Port MacDonnell, will see the holding capacity of live Rock Lobster increase by around 10 tonnes across both processing locations.

Hear about the many barriers they have had to overcome, and how they learned to trust each other enough to pool their capital and the benefit it has had on their local community. All this when Pete Lewis interviews Limestone Coast Fishermen’s Co-op founding member and inaugural Chair Rodger Long in this unique livestream episode of Co-operative Conversations.

Episode host – Pete Lewis

Join Pete Lewis for an inspiring interview series as he explores the journeys of some of Australia’s most interesting and successful co-operatives. Pete’s long and varied experience as a journalist specialising in agriculture will ensure he gets to the heart of the issues you want to hear about.