Co-operative Conversations: Meet the farmers future-proofing Australia

28 June 2020

Join renowned journalist Pete Lewis as he interviews agribusiness experts and primary producers about their adventures in agriculture and the future of farming. In July, he’s exploring three very different farming co-operatives.

Want to learn more about co-op farming?
Wednesday, July 1, 6.30pm
This is the story of how you can go from the edge of disaster to creating a business direction that future generations will be inspired to follow. Meet Stuart Crosthwaite, CEO of Mountain Milk Co-operative, and hear about how one of Australia’s newest dairy businesses managed to form out of adversity and secure their farming future. This conversation will be followed by a panel of expert primary producers discussing what makes agricultural co-operatives succeed … and fail.

How to become a farming superpower
Wednesday, July 8, 6.30pm 
From a small but passionate operation to the biggest macadamia processing plant in the world, Pete Lewis interviews Marquis Macadamias CEO Larry McHugh about the co-operative’s farming journey on the far north coast of Australia, as well as their recent rebranding and consolidation experience. Followed by a panel discussion including the Hon Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology – about how Australian producers can add value, profitability and resilience to farm incomes.

What is the future of farming?
Wednesday, July 15, 6:30pm
They’ve dealt with increased competition, cyclones and geographic isolation, but Sweeter Banana has not only remained profitable, the co-operative has also built a future for its farmers and community, all through sticking together and thinking differently. Pete Lewis talks to Doriana Mangili, Business Manager of Sweeter Banana, about the co-op behind Australia’s favourite lunchbox banana. Followed by a farmer panel discussion looking at what happens when farming co-operatives form to overcome shared challenges.

Co-operative Conversations is part of Co-operative Farming, a new online education resource for farmers. The ten-episode, fortnightly series runs until October 23 and is available online at

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