Co-operative technology to power Australian farmers
The sharing economy is coming to rural Australia with an Australian-first ground-breaking reg-tech solution that guides farmers in setting up a co-operative.

A list of visual prompts as part of a training video on Farming Together

A screenshot from one of the Farming Together training video resources.

The quiz-based regulatory-tech is supported by visual explainers and business-planning tools. Dubbed “Farming Together”, the federally funded program was created to encourage the use of collaborative models of business in agriculture, including co-operatives. The program uses content and tools developed by the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM).

The BCCM provided content for the online course, using cutting-edge reg-tech applications such as a Constitution Builder and Disclosure Statement Builder so prospective co-operatives can build a custom set of rules based on the Co-operatives National Law model rules and ensure their businesses are fully compliant with legislation.

To help farmers understand the set-up and ongoing maintenance involved in a producer co-operative, the BCCM has supplied Farming Together with well-researched content for six, 10-minute video lessons with quizzes, along with the use of the BCCM’s Co-op Builder.

“These online courses and our Co-op Builder are another great example of the BCCM’s commitment to ensuring all Australian businesses can access accurate and easy to use information about co-operative structures. It is very exciting to see our work used by federally funded programs such as Farming Together,” said BCCM CEO Melina Morrison.

In recognition of the BCCM’s body of knowledge, Ms Morrison was appointed as a connected advisor to the Farming Together program governance, representing the co-operative and mutual sector.

The online platform was built for the agricultural sector, but the way the course has been set out would also suit interested groups in other sectors such as housing or energy. Once users have followed the online steps to finish the course and passed the online tests, they will be certified by Farming Together.

The Farm Co-operative and Collaboration Program (known as Farming Together) is a two-year, $13.8m initiative from the Australian Government designed to help agricultural groups value-add, secure premium pricing, scale-up production, attract capital investment, earn new markets or secure lower input costs.

The Farm Co-operative and Collaboration Program is being delivered by Southern Cross University on behalf of the Australian Government. It comprises a highly experienced senior team drawn from a wide range of commodity groups from across Australia and is backed by an industry advisory group representing experts from Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and NSW.

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