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Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program aimed at encouraging stronger supply chains in Western NSW

Media Release

FARMERS across Western New South Wales (NSW) will soon be empowered to establish co-operatives and adopt innovative business models to boost their bargaining position in the marketplace, under the Australian Government’s $13.8 million Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program.

Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton today welcomed the announcement that Southern Cross University would deliver this national program, delivering on the government’s commitment in its $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to promote strong but fair competition throughout the agricultural supply chain.

Wheat harvesting on Bob PRESTON’S farm at Mingenew. View of grain pouring from the harvester into the tray of a trailer towed alongside by a tractor.

“This national pilot program is all about enabling farmers to come together, whether in co-operatives or less formal collaborations, and work to improve farmgate returns,” Mr Coulton said.

“Agricultural co-operatives allow farmers to own and control more of the food supply chain themselves giving them greater bargaining power when negotiating with buyers of their produce.

“The further you can reach down the path to the consumer, the greater the returns.  It’s that simple.  It is better for the farmer and our local community.

“I encourage farmers across Western NSW to get involved in the pilot program and see the opportunities co-operatives provide.

“The pilot program will be rolled out over the coming months delivering expert advice and information to up to 2,000 farmers and 100 farmer groups across the nation.  It will run until 30 June 2018.

“There is $3.8 million earmarked for new farmer group projects, where groups of farmers submit proposals for new collaborations to a panel of industry experts, with successful applicants receiving funding support and a dedicated case worker to get their project off the ground.

“The Australian Government is delivering on the initiatives in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper which are helping to strengthen Australian agriculture.”

People can register their details at http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/farm-collaboration to receive updates on how they can be involved in the pilot.