Co-operative Farming: June 2022 news

Summerland: Banking the Northern Rivers community through thick and thin

The Northern Rivers region of NSW is no stranger to floods. But this resilient community has been stretched to breaking point this year, with record-breaking floods reaching heights beyond what anyone had ever imagined.

In our latest podcast, rural journalist Michael Cavanagh joined John Williams, CEO of Summerland Credit Union, to find out what drives this member-owned bank to keep going in even the toughest of circumstances.

Discover why member-owned banks are an important part of the Co-operative Farming family, how Summerland’s co-operative values have informed its flood response and why Summerland is optimistic about the future. Discover more about the bank that’s putting its members first and strengthening the capacity of its community to recover from the 2022 floods.

Listen now via our websiteSpotify or Apple, or read more about how Summerland Credit Union is helping Lismore get back to business.

Celebrating our movement

Join with us on Saturday, 2 July in celebrating the International Day of Cooperatives. It is an important opportunity for all co-operatives and mutuals to communicate the role our businesses play in serving members and the wider community. This year’s theme is “Cooperatives build a better world”, and we look forward to celebrating this important day with co-operators and mutualists in Australia and around the world. Download resources from the Coops Day website.

National Mutual Economy report

Last week the BCCM launched the 2022 National Mutual Economy (NME) report. The ninth annual NME report captures the width and breadth of the valuable contribution co-operative and mutual enterprises (CMEs) make to the Australian economy and to their communities. Read highlights or download the entire report.

In the FY2020-21 the total turnover of the 13 farming, fishing and forestry co-ops in Australia’s Top 100 CMEs was $6.48 billion. These figures demonstrate the valuable contribution of farming, fishing and forestry CMEs to our national economy.

A co-operative for Queensland’s salad bowl

The Lockyer Fruit and Veggie Co-operative Ltd is seeking 20,000 Australian members to support its vision of providing a state-of-the-art food processing facility for farmers in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley. The co-operative will strengthen Australian food security by canning and freezing fresh produce locally, supporting Australian farmers in the process.

Co-op farming sector news

Mutuals and co-ops resilient in challenging economic times (paywall)

Time is right for co-operatives with ESG in focus, says Melina Morrison (paywall)

Coota District Co-op gets the green light

Business loans for Sweeter Banana Co-operative and Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative

Migration a fix for labour shortage: CEOs (paywall)

Agriculture industry ‘ready to work with Labor’ as leaders label biosecurity and skills shortage key issues

Victoria’s First Nations-led regenerative farming program changing lives, one beehive at a time

Norco and Woolworths announce cream partnership

Myanmar refugees overcome wet weather, floods to start farming co-operative on NSW Coffs Coast

Upskill your team in 2022 with BCCM courses

An Introduction to Co-operatives and Mutuals
This accessible and affordable two-hour online induction training has been designed to educate and to inspire people working in the sector to understand more about the unique role and contribution of co-operatives and mutuals. Give your staff a strong understanding of our unique sector by sending them to our next course on 14 July. Watch the extract of the interview with Taryn Lane from Hepburn Energy from last month’s course. Each course introduces a new co-op leader in conversation, and in July we will meet Mark Mugnaioni, Group CEO, RACT.

BCCM Innovation Masterclass
Our newest offering, this industry-specific masterclass gives the BCCM community access to world-class innovation thinking delivered by global facilitators providing practical and immediately usable approaches. This masterclass is perfect for teams, emerging leaders and executives looking to build innovation and resilience in their organisation. This three, half-day online masterclass is delivered by University of Geneva and UTS Professor Emmanuel Josserand and Strategyzer global innovation advisor Fred Etiemble. The masterclass will run from 2 pm – 5:30 pm AEST on 22 and 29 August, and 5 September 2022. Bookings now openbut hurry, as early bird pricing ends on 30 June.

Watch our recent introductory session to meet Emmanuel and Fred and discover more about this ground-breaking course.

We’re here to help

If you have questions or would like more information or support to planstart or run a co-op, please get in touch with the Co-operative Farming team.

Co-operative Farming: May 2022 news

Podcast: From closed and condemned to thriving co-op

When the town of Sea Lake was left with no local pub, the community took matters into their own hands, renovating a derelict building and opening The Royal as the Sea Lake Hotel Co-operative Limited.

Rural journalist Michael Cavanagh caught up with the co-op’s chair, John Clohesy, and secretary, Alison McClelland. Listen to the podcast to discover why The Royal hotel is such an important part of the Sea Lake community and how their previous experience in running a hardware co-operative helped the community embrace the co-operative model once more. You’ll also hear about how running the Sea Lake Hotel Co-operative has united this small community, given the town a tourism boost and provided locals with a sense of self-agency.

Listen now via our websiteSpotify or Apple, or read about how the Sea Lake Hotel Co-operative has given the town’s pub a new lease on life.

Next episode: In our next episode, Michael Cavanagh talks to John Williams, CEO, Summerland Credit Union, about the flood recovery and the big-hearted community in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.

Federal election

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals congratulates the Australian Labor Party on its successful election to Federal Government and urges greater collaboration with the sector in a bid to find effective and equitable solutions for the many challenges facing Australian communities.

Have your say

Don’t forget to complete the survey about the co-operative principles being conducted by the International Cooperative Alliance. This is your chance to add to the Australian response.

Celebrating our movement

Join with us on Saturday, 2 July in celebrating the International Day of Cooperatives. It is an important opportunity for all co-operatives and mutuals to communicate the role our businesses play in serving members and the wider community. The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) has announced this year’s theme will be “Cooperatives build a better world”, and we look forward to celebrating this important day with co-operators and mutualists in Australia and around the world.

Co-op farming sector news

Hastings Co-op sends semi-trailer full of donations to Lismore

The impact of investing in co-ops and mutuals

BCCM CEO discusses how to invigorate regional Australia (paywall)

BCCM and CA highlight housing and workforce flood recovery challenges in inquiry submission

Upskill your team in 2022 with BCCM courses

An Introduction to Co-operatives and Mutuals
This accessible and affordable two-hour online induction training has been designed to educate and to inspire people working in the sector to understand more about the unique role and contribution of co-operatives and mutuals. Give your staff a strong start to the year by sending them to our next course on 14 June. Watch the extract of the interview with Simone Tregeagle, Chief Officer, rt Health from the last course. Each course introduces a new co-op leader in conversation, and in June we will meet Taryn Lane from Hepburn Energy.

BCCM Innovation Masterclass
Our newest offering, this industry-specific masterclass gives the BCCM community access to world-class innovation thinking delivered by global facilitators providing practical and immediately usable approaches. This masterclass is perfect for teams, emerging leaders and executives looking to build innovation and resilience in their organisation. This three, half-day online masterclass is delivered by University of Geneva and UTS Professor Emmanuel Josserand and Strategyzer global innovation advisor Fred Etiemble. The masterclass will run from 2pm – 5:30 pm AEST on 22 and 29 August, and 5 September 2022. Bookings now open.

A wealth of knowledge at your fingertips: Co-operative Farming tools

Whether you’re looking for research that reports on the economic and social value of co-ops, state-specific compliance information or succession planning guidance, you’ll find it in the Co-operative Farming library. We’ve curated a range of reports, templates, manuals, websites and other tools from governments and leading co-op peak bodies around the world to help you run your co-op.

We’re here to help

If you have questions or would like more information or support to planstart or run a co-op, please get in touch with the Co-operative Farming team.

Co-operative Farming: April 2022 news

For the long haul: The co-op that’s creating new opportunities for Eyre Peninsula grain growers

Mining companies and farmers are frequently adversaries, with very different plans for the natural resources in a region. However, through the formation of a co-op, Eyre Peninsula Co-operative Bulk Handling, the relationship between local grain growers and mining company Iron Road is characterised by co-operation, open communication and a genuine desire to create mutually beneficial outcomes.

In our latest podcast, agricultural journalist Michael Cavanagh talks to Tim Scholz, local farmer, director and executive officer of EPCBH and principal of stakeholder engagement with mining company Iron Road. They discuss how local grain growers and Iron Road are working together to find a win-win situation, as well as how the planned deep-water port at Cape Hardy could allow for grain and magnetite exports. Michael and Tim also reflect on why co-ops give small farmers a voice and can empower them to collectively address sustainability challenges impacting their businesses and the wider community.

Listen now via our websiteSpotify or Apple, or read about the journey so far for Eyre Peninsula Co-operative Bulk Handling.

Next episode: In our next episode, meet Alison McLelland and John Clohesy, Secretary and Chair of the Sea Lake Hotel Co-operative. Hear how the co-op has revitalised an important community asset, proving a community meeting place and raising the profile of this proud Victorian town.

After the floods: Recovery and resilience

We know that the clean-up is far from over for communities in New South Wales and Queensland who were impacted by flooding in February and March. The BCCM continues to advocate for affected co-operatives and mutuals, particularly as discussions now focus on mitigation strategies and future planning.

The NSW Government has launched the 2022 NSW Flood Inquiry. This independent inquiry will examine flood causes, preparedness, responses and recovery. The submission portal is now open and will close on 20 May – we encourage co-operators to have a voice in this discussion.

Discover how co-ops and mutuals are living out the co-operative spirit by putting people before profit and how they are supporting their local communities as they recover from the floods. You can also donate to the Australian Mutuals Foundation Flood Disaster Relief Fund, which is supporting recovery efforts in impacted communities.

Co-op farming sector news

BCCM secures an amendment to eligibility criteria to ensure Victorian food co-ops can apply for funding from the Future Healthy initiative to boost food hubs

Celebrating the third anniversary of the passing of landmark legislation to enable Mutual Capital Instruments (MCIs) for federally registered co-operative and mutual businesses

CBH supports regional Western Australia with 2022 CBH Grass Roots Community Grant recipients announced

Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative Limited (GFC) awarded $1,926,000 Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation (ATMAC) grant

Norco milk price to farmers to increase to support flood recovery

Upskill your team in 2022 with BCCM courses

An Introduction to Co-operatives and Mutuals
This accessible and affordable two-hour online induction training has been designed to educate and to inspire people working in the sector to understand more about the unique role and contribution of co-operatives and mutuals. Give your staff a strong start to the year by sending them to our next course on 10 May. Watch the extract of the interview with social enterprise leader Richard Warner from the last course. Each course introduces a new co-op leader in conversation.

Co-operative Financials and Governance for Accountants and Lawyers CPD course
Originally planned for this month, due to the widespread impact of the floods, this course has been rescheduled. Now taking place from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm on 20, 25 and 27 October, this course will equip practitioners with the relevant knowledge to advise co-ops on setting up and running growing businesses. Book now, this course will run only once in 2022.

A wealth of knowledge at your fingertips: Co-operative Farming tools

In our Stories collection, you can meet some of the people behind Australia’s farming, forestry and fishery co-ops, and discover how co-ops help communities and businesses work together for the common good. Be inspired by their stories and learn more about where high-quality Australian food and natural resources come from.

Does your co-op have a story to share? Tell us more so that we can introduce you to the Co-operative Farming community.

We’re here to help

If you have questions or would like more information or support to planstart or run a co-op, please get in touch with the Co-operative Farming team.

 

Co-operative Farming: March 2022 news

Record-breaking floods devastate farmers, businesses, and communities

Across Australia we have been shocked and dismayed by the recent flood disaster in Queensland and New South Wales. Farming communities have been hit particularly hard, with heartbreaking crop and livestock losses, as well as impacts to infrastructure and equipment. There has also been an enormous impact at the community level, with thousands of people experiencing the trauma of the initial flood event and now the long clean-up.

The BCCM has continued to advocate on behalf of the sector and local communities. Many of our member co-ops, including Norco, The Casino Food Co-op, RACQ and Summerland Credit Union, have been instrumental in looking after people on the ground. Follow our ongoing updates and advocacy efforts, and donate to the Australian Mutuals Foundation Flood Disaster Relief Fund, which will support the recovery efforts in conjunction with local co-operatives and mutuals in affected areas.

Last week Melina Morrison, BCCM CEO, called for a National Co-operative Disaster Recovery Centre of Excellence to be set up in Lismore in order to study the responses of the anchor co-ops and mutuals in the Northern Rivers and to share those findings with the broader community, especially disaster-prone regions.

The co-op connecting everyday Australians to the renewable energy revolution – new podcast episode 13

In this Meet the Co-op Farmers episode rural journalist Michael Cavanagh talks to Peter Fraser, President of Community Energy 4 Goulburn (CE4G) and board member of Goulburn Community Energy Co-op. The Co-op is stepping up to provide their local community with the opportunity to invest in solar power, and to become changemakers through community-owned renewable energy.

The podcast examines how the local community in Goulburn and its surrounds got behind the vision for solar energy and why the co-operative model was the ideal solution for the project. Michael and Peter also discuss how everyday Australians can invest in and support renewable energy, and why this project is particularly good news for regional Australia.

Listen now via our websiteSpotify or Apple, or read about Goulburn Community Energy Co-op’s long journey and discover why their powerful vision is becoming a model for other communities.

Next episode: In our next episode, meet Alison McLelland and John Clohesy, Secretary and Chair of the Sea Lake Hotel Co-operative. Hear how the co-op has the people of Sea Lake community covered, whether they need bolts from the hardware or beers from the hotel.

Co-op farming sector news

Mutuals see greater role in disaster resilience

Why we need to get back to thinking of co-operative and mutual enterprise as a social business

Australian co-op sector responds to catastrophic Queensland and NSW floods

Congratulations to Australia’s largest fishing co-operative, Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative, on being the first Australian fishing co-op to join the International Cooperative Fisheries Organisation (ICFO) as its 21st member.

Upskill your team in 2022 with BCCM courses

An Introduction to Co-operatives and Mutuals
This accessible and affordable 2-hour online induction training has been designed to educate and to inspire people working in the sector to understand more about the unique role and contribution of co-operatives and mutuals. Give your staff a strong start to the year by sending them to our next course on 12 April. Watch the extract of the interview with agricultural co-op leader Doriana Mangili from the last course. Each course introduces a new co-op leader in conversation.

Co-operative Financials and Governance for Accountants and Lawyers CPD course
Originally planned for later this month, due to the widespread impact of the floods, this course has been rescheduled. Now taking place from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm on 20, 25 and 27 October, this course will equip practitioners with the relevant knowledge to advise co-ops on setting up and running growing businesses. Book now, this course will run only once in 2022.

A wealth of knowledge at your fingertips: Co-operative Farming tools

As dedicated workers who generate high-quality produce that enjoys an international reputation, Australian farmers and fishermen have a proud history of resilience and tenacity. The ABC documentary, Fightback Farmers: Feeding Australia Together, showcases Australian dairy farmers and lobster fishermen who have harnessed the co-op model and are working together to overcome the challenges of 21st century farming.

We’re here to help

If you have questions or would like more information or support to planstart or run a co-op, please get in touch with the Co-operative Farming team.

Banner image source: Norco Co-operative Limited via Facebook

Co-operative Farming: February 2022 news

The big bank with a heart for farmers and farming – new podcast episode 12

In this Meet the Co-op Farmers episode we discover the bank that’s well-known globally as the world’s biggest agricultural bank. Rabobank Australia is a subsidiary of Rabobank, the global co-operative bank based in the Netherlands, and is committed to operating with the same co-operative mindset and commitment to farmers, agriculture and global food security. Rural journalist Michael Cavanagh sat down with Marc Oostdijk, General Manager Knowledge and Networks, Sustainability and Community Engagement at Rabobank to find out more about this bank with a big heart for farming and farmers.

Listen now via our websiteSpotify or Apple, or read about Rabobank’s commitment to Australian agriculture and food security.

Next episode: Reporter Michael Cavanagh chats to Peter Fraser, board member of the Goulburn Community Co-op, which is building a solar farm on the outskirts of Goulburn in order to provide renewable energy options to the market and allow everyday Australians to be part of the renewable energy revolution.

Co-op farming sector news

Congratulations CBH Group and WA growers on your record-breaking harvest of 21.3 million tonnes

Agricultural co-op ORICoop is using the cooperative structure to create a transparent eco-credit supply chain that values land, farmers and community

Mountain Milk Co-operative have delivered their first truckload of milk to their new partner, the Milawa Cheese Company

Kimberley Meat Company to reopen for business in March as newly-formed co-operative (paywall)

E-commerce platform trialled to help Nepalese farm co-ops with market access

Upskill your team in 2022 with BCCM courses

ESG – Capital Raising for Co-ops – March 10
BCCM members are invited to join experienced share registry provider Syndex and the BCCM as they present this one-hour webinar. It will cover capital raising for co-operatives, and incorporate case studies from Australian and NZ co-ops. RSVP to secure your place.

An Introduction to Co-operatives and Mutuals
This accessible and affordable induction training. It has been designed to educate and to inspire people working in the sector to understand more about the unique role and contribution of co-operatives and mutuals. Give your staff a strong start to the year by sending them to our next course on 8 March.

Co-operative Financials and Governance for Accountants and Lawyers CPD course
Taking place from 11:30 am – 1 pm on 24, 29 and 31 March, this course is for accountants, financial advisors and legal practitioners and is delivered by the BCCM in partnership with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) to equip practitioners with the relevant knowledge to advise co-ops on setting up and running growing businesses. Book now for March – this course will run only once in 2022.

Farmers best placed to manage land stewardship

Formed with the support of Co-operative Farming, the BCCM’s 2-year education and information program on farm co-operatives, Regen Farmers Mutual is a bold new concept to hand back ownership and control of biodiversity assets to farmers. Such is the interest from the community they have a waiting list for farmers to sign up for the Environmental Farm Assessment to enable farmers to create their farm digital twin and get an indicative assessment of the value of their environmental assets. The BCCM is delighted to welcome Regen Farmers Mutual as our new member.

A wealth of knowledge at your fingertips: Co-operative Farming tools

You’ve planned a co-op that you know will make a difference in your industry. But how can you get from this initial idea to a functioning co-op with capital and members? We’ve created a comprehensive guide to marketing an offer that takes you through every step in getting your co-op up and running. Use our guide to help you bring your idea to life so that you can make an impact sooner.

We’re here to help

If you have questions or would like more information or support to planstart or run a co-op, please get in touch with the Co-operative Farming team.

Banner image source: Rabobank

Co-operative Farming: January 2022 news

Is this Australia’s most co-operative town? Meet The Killarney Co-op – new podcast episode

Our latest Meet the Co-op Farmers podcast episode takes us to Killarney, a small town on the NSW–Qld border. Our rural reporter Michael Kavanagh talks to Marissa Costello from The Killarney Co-op as she reflects on the co-op’s first 100 years and looks to the next 100.

One of Australia’s oldest co-operatives, Killarney Co-op was the dream of a Danish immigrant, Christian Petersen, who knew that the co-operative model he had experienced in Europe would help secure the future of Killarney’s struggling butter factory.

Over time, the co-op has shifted its focus in response to the needs of the community and changing market demands, and today it stands as a community-owned retail co-op that offers a supermarket, an electrical appliances retailer, a hardware, a petrol station, a rural supplies store and a post office. As well as providing the community with essential goods and services, their redistributive approach to business is helping farmers across the region to secure both supplies as well as customers for their produce.

Listen now via our websiteSpotify or Apple, or read about Killarney Co-op’s remarkable journey of resilience and reinvention over the past century.

Next episode: In our February issue, our rural reporter Michael Kavanagh talks to Marc Oostdijk about Rabobank’s co-op ethos and history, its new community fund and how agribusiness can lead in sustainability.

Co-op farming sector news

Mountain Milk Co-operative has announced a milk supply agreement with the Milawa Cheese Company

CBH is leading an Australia-first biofuel trial on a grain vessel carrying a sustainable barley shipment from Australia.

Oz Group Co-op Limited recently celebrated its 20th birthday. OzGroup remains 100% farmer-owned and represents a commitment of over 140 individual growers on the Coffs Coast to work together.

WAMMCO has announced 100 per cent first COVID dose milestone at its Katanning facility.

Calling all co-ops. Why not join the global community of co-ops wearing your heart on your sleeve with a .coop domain.

Upskill your team with BCCM courses

An Introduction to Co-operatives and Mutuals
This industry-informed course provides sector-wide accessible and affordable induction training. It has been designed to educate and to inspire people working in the sector to understand more about the unique role and contribution of co-operatives and mutuals and to help them in their roles whether frontline staff, management or directors. Suitable for everyone, from frontline staff to directors. Give your staff a strong start to the year by sending them to our February or March courses.

Co-operative Financials and Governance for Accountants and Lawyers CPD course
Co-operatives are a widely used business structure in Australia, particularly in agriculture and financial services. Despite this, there is a gap in the understanding of the co-operative business model, particularly in areas relating to financial reporting, capital raising and taxation. Suitable for accounting and legal practitioners, financial advisors, CFOs and co-op secretaries, and as a general introduction to the legal model governing co-operatives in Australia. Book now for March – this course will run only once in 2022.

A wealth of knowledge at your fingertips: Co-operative Farming tools

Fundraising is a key part of forming and running a co-op, but it can seem overwhelming at first. Our Capital Builder has been created to help co-ops raise capital efficiently and effectively. It will help you create a clear fundraising plan, build your confidence in implementing it and assist you in remaining compliant throughout the process.

We’re here to help

If you have questions or would like more information or support to planstart or run a co-op, please get in touch with the Co-operative Farming team.

Banner image source: The Killarney Co-op

Co-operative Farming: December 2021 news

A community owned abattoir steps up to deliver paddock to plate – new podcast episode

The latest episode of Meet the Co-op Farmers has dropped and it’s a cracker.

“Paddock to Plate” is our fascinating conversation with the founders of a new food co-op on the stunning Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. Have a listen to discover how a disused abattoir has become the centre of an emerging paddock to plate food network. Grant Baker and David Parsons, two of the driving forces behind the co-op, discuss how a meat processing co-op will meet local demand and assist producers from the Peninsula to get their top-quality produce onto supermarket shelves and restaurant tables further afield.

Grant and David explain how the BCCM helped the community to explore whether a co-op was the right model to work together on their shared vision for an interconnected food supply chain to produce and market the region’s trustworthy, ethical and high-quality food.

Listen now via our websiteSpotify or Apple, or read about The Fleurieu Community Co-operative abattoir.

Next episode: January’s episode will be coming from the NSW–Qld border and what may be Australia’s most co-operative town. Our rural reporter Michael Kavanagh is talking to Marissa Costello from the Killarney Co-op as she reflects on the co-op’s first 100 years and looks to the next 100.

Co-op farming sector news

Regional Victoria’s Apollo Bay Fisherman’s Co-op has invested nearly $500,000 in a small, 40-year-old fishing boat to provide the town with fresh seafood.

BCCM assisted the set-up of the Myanmar Community Agriculture Co-operative on NSW’s mid-north coast helping Burmese refugees put down roots in their local community.

Marquis Macadamias Australia is welcoming new grower members to its ranks, harnessing the power of the co-operative model to gain strength through numbers.

Upskill your team with BCCM courses

An Introduction to Co-operatives and Mutuals
Developed especially as an accessible and affordable induction training about the co-op and mutual business models for new employees, this industry-developed course is relevant for staff all across the co-operative and mutual enterprise (CME) sector. Give your staff a strong start to the year by sending them to our February or March courses.

Co-operative Financials and Governance for Accountants and Lawyers CPD course
Run in partnership with the BCCM and Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand, this program is the first course of its kind. It has been specifically designed to equip accounting and legal practitioners with the relevant knowledge to be able to advise clients on setting up and running effective co-operative businesses. You will gain insights into financial reporting for co-operatives, co-operative capital raising instruments, and learn more about the legislation and tax settings governing co-operatives. Book now for March.

A wealth of knowledge at your fingertips: Co-operative Farming tools

The Co-op Builder simplifies the process of establishing the necessary legal documentation. Use this tool to stay legally compliant and create your co-op’s constitution and, if required, a disclosure statement. You’ll also find resources to help you choose the appropriate co-op model, and to create your co-op’s business plan.

We’re here to help

If you have questions or would like more information or support to planstart or run a co-op, please get in touch with the Co-operative Farming team.

Banner image source: The Fleurieu Community Co-operative

Co-operative Farming: November 2021 news

17 November 2021

Meet the Co-op Farmers podcast series 2

Season 2 of our popular Meet the Co-op Farmers podcast has now landed. Hosted by Michael Cavanagh, the podcast features conversations with inspiring farmers and regional leaders across Australia.

In the first episode of the new season, you can hear how the community of Cootamundra is responding to a major retailer pulling out of the town by forming a retail co-op to help locals access the necessities of life – even underwear! The co-op will provide new employment opportunities and give locals a say in the retailing activities of the town.

As co-op chair Leigh Bowden says, “it is about the social dividend and realising that investing in a store like this co-op provides a benefit to the community. It will help the sustainability and viability of the centre of Cootamundra”.

Our next podcast examines the move to take over a defunct abattoir and transform it into the hub for a meat co-operative on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.

Listen now via our websiteSpotify or Apple, or read about the Cootamundra District Co-op.

Co-operatives are a vital link in disaster and recovery planning

A new report by the BCCM highlights the important role co-ops play during times of disaster, and in helping communities and businesses regroup in the weeks, months and years that follow. The report recommends the co-operative and mutual sector is included in disaster and recovery planning throughout Australia.

The report features four producer co-op case studies of TAFCOORICoopSweeter Banana and Cobargo.

The report was launched in an online webinar during COP26 fortnight. The Minister for Regionalisation and Emergency Management, Senator Bridget McKenzie and co-Chair of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry Professor Mary O’Kane, spoke in support of co-operatives playing a central role in community resilience and recovery. You can watch a recording of the launch and read the report.

Co-op farming sector news

Dungog Wholefood Co-op have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help their new co-op get off the ground.

In an Australian first, Rabobank have launched a community fund to support rural Australia.

Congratulations to Almondco Australia Ltd on coming at 38 in South Australia’s top 100 companies.

Marquis Group has enjoyed a record-breaking year of macadamia sales.

Dairy cooperative Norco posts record $12.7 million profit, lifts branded milk sales 22.4 per cent

Co-ops, food and climate: COP26 looks for a fair way to reform farming

A wealth of knowledge at your fingertips: Co-operative Farming tools

Co-operative Farming is your one-stop website for a large range of accessible resources to help farmers and regional communities set up and run sustainable co-operative businesses, including our new self-paced Co-operative Foundations online course.

This is a free six module course for farmers, fishers and foresters to provide a foundational understanding of co-operatives and how they can increase the profits, efficiency, and value of agricultural businesses. You can choose to complete a quiz after each module and receive a certificate to acknowledge your CPD hours. Begin your online learning today, or see the other resources we have created for you.

For established co-operatives, we have induction education for your employees and a CPD course with Chartered Accountants Australia & NZ for your accountant or lawyers to help them understand the business model better.

If your directors need a refresher course or you have new directors don’t miss our Foundations of Directorship Course for Co-ops and Mutuals in partnership with the AICD.

We’re here to help

If you have questions or would like more information or support to planstart or run a co-op, please get in touch with the Co-operative Farming team.

Banner image source: Cootamundra District Co-op

Co-operative Farming: August-September 2021 news

Bushfoods are booming

Spotlight on the Northern Australia Aboriginal Kakadu Plum Alliance

Aboriginal communities have been harvesting an ancient food for thousands of years, yet people around the world are only just discovering it.

Recent surveys show the Australian bushfoods sector is booming, however data suggests that the majority of this wealth is channelled back to non-Indigenous producers.

It’s one of the reasons the Northern Australia Aboriginal Kakadu Plum Alliance (NAAKPA) came together, to bring the wealth generated from Kakadu plum back into the hands of Aboriginal-owned enterprises.

The BCCM is delighted to welcome NAAKPA as a new member. We are helping NAAKPA develop their business with advice and access to industry mentors. If you would like to know more about how becoming a BCCM member can help you grow your business please contact Anthony Taylor.

Tools and resources

Co-operative Farming funding for bursaries and workshops has ceased but you can still receive help from the team. You can access a great range of free resources for farmers, fishers and foresters to help you planstart or run a co-operative.

Watch:

Listen:

Explore:

Why co-op education matters

University of Newcastle researchers Dr Sidsel Grimstad, Ann Apps and Elizabeth Makin have reported on their findings on the importance of education programs exploring the value of the co-operative business model.

The researchers produced two reports for the BCCM as part of the Co-operative Farming Project:

They recommend that co-operative education should be included in Australia’s educational framework at all levels. Dr Grimstad said the value of co-operative education was even more evident in a crisis like the pandemic.

“The co-operative business model is a mainstream and thriving model throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia,” Dr Grimstad said.

“The pandemic has shown that locally based co-operative businesses can be very resilient in a crisis, yet it’s still not something taught in Australian schools.”

Get in touch

If you have questions or would like more information or support to planstart or run a co-op, please get in touch with the Co-operative Farming team.

Banner image source: Northern Australia Aboriginal Kakadu Plum Alliance

Co-operative Farming: July 2021 news

Co-operating Farming kicked off over 18 months ago with support from the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment. Funding has supported the BCCM to raise awareness of co-operatives and to develop resources to support farmers and primary producers to learn about the business model and to start and grow new agribusinesses built on co-operation.

Financial support for the program is concluding now but a range of self-help resources remain at your fingertips to help you learn and take action to build sustainable farming enterprises.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported the program and got involved. A huge thanks to our co-operative champions who have shared their co-operative experience with Aussie farmers and helped us build world-class learning materials based on real-world, agribusiness expertise.

We will continue to profile the important work farmers, fishers and foresters are doing across the country each month in this newsletter.

When farmers are starting out on a new business venture, there is no better way to learn than hearing direct from businesses that have walked the path before and many leading co-operatives shared frank and fearless advice through our Co-operative Conversations series and Meet the Co-op Farmers podcast.

All the tools you need

The Co-operative Farming team has been working hard to develop tools to help you run your business. Here are some new tools you can explore:

An updated Co-op Builder tool with new guidance on start-up share offers

new guide to marketing offers of shares and other securities

A prototype co-operative governance evaluation tool – measure your co-op’s governance performance against the CME Governance Principles.

The best resources at your fingertips

We’re also delighted to provide you with free access our Co-operative Foundations online education modules. These six modules cover core aspects of the co-operative business model and have been developed to provide a solid foundational understanding of co-operatives within an agricultural context. You can complete these at your own pace and convenience with optional quizzes to undertake.

​In case you missed it

The BCCM, as a learning partner of Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand, is offering a first of its kind course to educate those in professional services about the co-operative business model. The Co-operative Financials and Governance for Accountants and Lawyers Program will run on August 17, 19 and 24. Those interested can find out more and register online.

We know you’ve probably watched it by now but in case you haven’t caught it, Fightback Farmers: Feeding Australia Together is still available to watch on ABC iview. It aired last month and was expected to have half a million viewers across the country in the first month alone. It features local heroes showing why co-operative farming could be a solution to a thriving modern agriculture sector and sustainable communities.

​​We’re here to help

If you have questions or would like more information or support to planstart or run a co-op, please get in touch with the Co-operative Farming team.