Attendees of the 2017 International Regional Development Conference will get an introduction to one of the world’s most powerful social-good tools – the co-op.

An Australian-first online tool will be on display – a free DIY co-op template suitable for small regional groups to become powerful negotiating bodies.

Already more than  70 new agri-focussed co-operatives have started using the online co-op builder backed by the Australian Government.

The builder, developed for the national Farming Together program, is being used by farm groups across the country.

Farming Together project director Lorraine Gordon said: “People don’t realise how simple it is to form a co-op. You only need five people.

“A co-op structure has so many benefits – including tax benefits. Co-ops help secure discount bulk pricing for inputs. They traditionally underpin equipment and infrastructure to value-add primary production. And we are seeing a growing appetite for co-operative marketing structures.”

Beef farmer Lorraine, a former NSW Rural Woman of the Year, will be addressing the Coffs Harbour forum.

Developed in conjunction with Australia’s peak body for co-ops, the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM), the online tool has been written by some of the country’s leading experts in co-op law and education.

The free template is available from the Farming Together website, which enables you to:

  • Easily put together the key paperwork you need to register as a co-op
  • Plug the information and resources gap for farmers and the experts advising them
  • Write a compliant constitution (the rules for how the business operates) and disclosure statement (how it will put the money together from its member investors)
  • Link to other industry resources

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.

Farming Together 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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farming together logo: co-op

This article was kindly provided by Farming Together.

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