Farming Together

Farming Together’s website showcases primary producer case studies as well as a searchable map of Australia to locate each case study by location.

A group of beekeepers and honey packers in the Moreton Bay area of Queensland wanted to create long term partnerships between investors and primary producers to help them become export-viable. They wanted a new formal arrangement (transitioning from a Pty Ltd Company to a co-operative) to enable profit sharing between the creators of wealth and the owners of capital. Expertise was required to guide the group through the complex legal process to ensure transparency and fairness for all.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

Beechworth Food Co-op is an Australian cooperative success story. Located in picturesque Beechworth in rural Victoria, the Coop launched three and a half years ago and grew to 800 members within two years.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

There is growing demand in Asia for healthy Australian food but limited air-freight export hubs with appropriate bio-security measures in place. In 2016, food exporters from southern inland NSW were paying high prices to freight goods to Sydney airport. At the same time, new international flights from Canberra to Singapore highlighted the possibility of air cargo that could take local products directly to new target markets.

Read their case study on Farming Together

Mark Voigt, company secretary of CCW Co-operative, represents almost 600 grape grower members who supply about 200,000 tonnes of wine. CCW Co-op, located in the South Australian Riverland is the largest grape supply co-op in Australia.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

Organic fruit and vegetable farmers in the Coffs Harbour region of NSW were all incredibly busy with their own farms, until they started a conversation about how they could work smarter, and more sustainably, by collaborating.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

Building a local brand and collaborating business networks is often difficult for farmers, who rarely have a spare moment due to their own business demands. Distribution costs are sometimes prohibitive for small holders and sending produce to a wholesale market is often receives low prices. Amanda Craig, the Greater Borders Landcare project manager, noticed that the region had many small holdings, with producers working hard, but not often working together.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

The Liebe Group is an established not-for-profit business supporting WA’s mid ‘wheatbelt’ region.  Established to address concerns of isolation from agricultural R&D, most of the group’s 100 members run broad-acre cropping and livestock businesses. Under the guidance of Executive Officer, Rebecca McGregor, Liebe supports members across more than 1 million hectares, to access new ideas and develop research and networks. Information sharing and upskilling through peer-to-peer learning helps members to grow their productivity and profitability.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

The Margaret River Rural Producers Association (MRRPA) in Western Australia has been busy for more than 17 years, conducting weekly farmers markets. These markets are a tangible way to promote the produce of their 80+ local members, but the organisation wanted to do more.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

The Melbourne Farmers Market started as one market, once a month. It has grown to six markets, three times a week. The demand for fresh and wholesome produce continues, as consumers strive to understand where their food comes from and aim to get closer to grass roots food producers.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

Dairy is a highly competitive industry, dominated by large multi-nationals. Despite this, there was a strong business case for dairy farming in Victoria’s Alpine Valleys. With increased growth of 25% over the previous 10 years, the region had shown resilience, when other dairy areas had reduced yields. The Kiewa Valley produces 40-60 million litres of milk and the NE region can bring in 200 million litres (about 32% of the region’s supply).

Read their case study on Farming Together.

Angela Smith from One Tree Hill Alpacas had been successfully breeding alpacas and selling their fibre for ten years when she identified an opportunity to collaborate with other growers to increase the profile of this unique product.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

Plant Varieties Australia is grower-owned company with a focus on the intellectual property of plant material. Already running $8m in domestic berry sales to large supermarkets, the company secured rights to a new berry for the Australian market.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

Two small-scale not-for-profit tree growers from northern NSW and South East Queensland faced similar problems: small volumes per grower; limited marketing power; and a lack of outlets to sell their highly prized timbers.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

The aromatic essential oil from sandalwood timber is in high demand, especially in Asia. The sandalwood nut is also developing as a gourmet native ingredient. There have been incidents of poaching from Australian groves. In the early 2000s, a shortage of the premium variety (Indian sandalwood) occurred, as significant Australian plantations were nearing maturity. South Australian growers had mostly small and medium sized groves. The Western Australian network, though more established, covered vast geographic areas with varying species, making group efforts difficult. There was limited nationwide co-ordination or government support for monitoring or quality controls. There was potential to grow the Australian industry.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

The aromatic essential oil from sandalwood timber is in high demand, especially in Asia. The sandalwood nut is also developing as a gourmet native ingredient. There have been incidents of poaching from Australian groves. In the early 2000s, a shortage of the premium variety (Indian sandalwood) occurred, as significant Australian plantations were nearing maturity. South Australian growers had mostly small and medium sized groves. The Western Australian network, though more established, covered vast geographic areas with varying species, making group efforts difficult. There was limited nationwide co-ordination or government support for monitoring or quality controls. There was potential to grow the Australian industry.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

Ann Shanley is director and founding member of Kindred Spirits Enterprises, which supports transforming indigenous projects. Ann attended a Farming Together forum about the pros and cons of the co-operative business model and thought it could be a good cultural match for a group of collaborating indigenous farmers. The group, from Kakadu, Kimberley and Wadeye in Arnhem Land were growing and harvesting native fruits.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

The WA citrus industry faced downward price pressures. A large group of small producers were struggling for viability while a few large operators, who dominated the market, embarked on expansion. These investments had the potential to worsen over-supply issues, jeopardising the industry through lack of planning. In addition, alternative markets and value-add opportunities were needed for second grade fruit, to boost incomes and minimise waste. Lack of trust between growers and other value chain participants, and a history of separate-step activity (grow>process>distribute>sell) highlighted the need to explore collaboration.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

Australian oysters are NSW’s largest aquaculture industry, with more than 300 growers and $35 million in product each year. However, low yield and disease are a permanent risk – for both the native (‘Sydney Rock’ and ‘Angasi mud flat’) and the introduced ‘Pacific’ species. In 2016, production levels had declined to half their historical 1970s peak. The industry needed to boost production, with a selective breeding program for Sydney Rock Oysters as a key strategy.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

Picture this: three farmers at a small Australian alpaca show, yarning about the potential for industry growth. Fast forward 18 months and the Waratah Alpaca Fibre Coop is establishing export operations to China.

Read their case study on Farming Together.

Most Australian strawberries are eaten in the Australian market and many are grown in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. However, marketing and sale of berries to the major supermarkets is controlled by a few large companies, including the US-based berry giant Driscolls. Five farmers from the Yarra, ranging in age from 22 to 60 years, and with a combined 200 years of strawberry farming, felt they needed a bigger voice in their industry. Their application to Farming Together echoed many others:

Read their case study on Farming Together.