13 May 2021
A candid new podcast series is telling the stories and adventures of Australian farmers transforming their businesses by working together.
Featuring leading primary producers, the eight-episode podcast Meet the Co-op Farmers will address some of the biggest issues in farming and put forward solutions aimed at future-proofing Australian family farms.
The first two episodes have gone live this week. The first interview explores the David and Goliath battle of the Victorian Mountain Milk dairy co-operative, forced to fight for their survival after the collapse of Murray Goulburn. Mountain Milk Chair Stuart Crosthwaite tells renowned agricultural journalist Pete Lewis: “We were not receiving a fair market price for our milk. We had lots and lots of outstanding bills. It was unbelievably stressful financially. I was questioning whether I wanted to be farming any more. The co-op structure really hit a cord with us, because everyone was equal.”
Other co-operative farmers at the forefront of agriculture interviewed include Sweeter Bananas Doriana Mangili, Larry McHugh from nut powerhouse Marquis Macadamias and Natalie Browning from one of the world’s biggest co-operatives, CBH.
Farmers, fishers and other primary producers are known for their resilience, but in the last few years they have faced unprecedented challenges: drought, fires, floods, global commodity and export market impacts and COVID-19 restrictions. Co-operative farming is seen as giving farmers competitive advantage and market power by scaling, collaborating and innovating.
Melina Morrison, CEO of the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) said: “The stories we are telling are inspiring in this period of upheaval. Through the experiences of other farmers and education from experts, this podcast series will show primary producers how they can build resilience and growth in their business by coming together in a co-operative. Farmers tell their warts-and-all stories of coming together in co-operatives to make sure they cut out the middle man and take back the supply chain.”
It is available for download on iTunes, Spotify and all good podcast hosting platforms.