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Nearly 70 new agri-focussed co-operatives have been started in just the first month of an online co-op builder backed by the Australian Government.
The free DIY 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 farm inputs.
“They traditionally underpin equipment and infrastructure to value-add primary production. And we are seeing a growing appetite for co-operative marketing structures.”
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.
Melina Morrison, CEO of the BCCM said: “Co-operatives are an important way for small, regional and ag-based businesses to compete in markets that favour larger players.”
The free template is available from the Farming Together website www.farmingtogether.com.au and it:
* Makes it easier to put together the key paperwork needed to register as a co-op;
* Helps plug the information and resources gap for farmers and the experts advising them;
* Shows how to 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);
* Links to other industry resources.
Farming Together is a two-year, $13.8m initiative from the Australian Government which is 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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