CO-OPERATIVE CONVERSATIONS: Stories from the farming frontline


A CANDID new series featuring leading primary producers will address some of the biggest issues in farming and put forward solutions aimed at future proofing Australian family farms.

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, COVID-19 restrictions, issues highlighted in the Banking Royal Commission and investment barriers pushing more family farms to outside ownership. Co-operative farming is seen as one model that can assist, giving farmers competitive advantage and market power by scaling, collaborating and innovating.

A new and unique live streamed series, Co-operative Conversations , hears from farmers and producers who are successfully using co-operative farming business models to transform their business and communities.

The ten-episode, fortnightly series was released on June 17 and run until October 23. It will be available online at

Hosted by renowned agricultural journalist Pete Lewis, the series showcases candid conversations and the real-life experiences of Australia’s farming frontline. Through a range of interviews and roundtables, primary producers and the businesses they work with will get a closer look at co-operative business models in the face of a challenge or crisis, where the model does and doesn’t succeed, and just how relevant and transformational it can be.

“There has never been a better time to come together and explore ways to protect Australia’s farming businesses and communities, and the huge contribution they make to supply, biosecurity and the economy,” said Melina Morrison, CEO of the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM). “The stories we are telling are inspiring in this period of upheaval. Through the experiences of other farmers, and education from experts, this series will show primary producers how they can build resilience and growth in their business by coming together in a co-operative.”

The Co-operative Farming Project is supported by the Department of Agriculture and delivered by BCCM. The program aims to increase information, education and awareness of the co-operative business model and other collaborative efforts along the supply chain as an important pathway to reducing costs and improving production efficiencies, growing agricultural production and maximising farm gate returns.