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Frequently Asked Questions

The purpose of the Co-operative Farming Project is to highlight 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 the agricultural production and maximising farm gate returns. 

The Business Council of Co-operative and Mutuals (BCCM) has been working with the Australian Government to deliver a program of education, advice and support to farmers, fishers and foresters to establish and grow farm co-operatives and other collaborative business models. BCCM received federal funding of $2.5 million until July 2021 to deliver this project.

As part of the project we have and will be launching various activities and resources, including an advice and information hotline, a mentoring program, website with tools and resources, online education modules, a 10-episode livestream series (Co-operative Conversations) and education bursaries. You can:

BCCM is not providing direct financial support or grants to participants within the Co-operative Farming project. Participants can apply for an educational bursary (financial support) towards the cost of approved educational programs.

This project is supported by the Department of Agriculture, through funding from Australian Government’s Starting Farm Co-operatives Program.

The Co-operative Farming project is designed to service and support two core target audiences

  1. Farmers, fishers and foresters who want to find out more about starting a co-operative.
  2. Existing co-operatives looking to grow their business.


31 March 2020 to 30 April 2021

The hotline and online service will provide advice on starting and running a co-operative. BCCM will establish the initial requirements through first contact, after which a 30-minute consultation will be arranged to provide tailored information. Advice will be provided to support co-operatives navigate educational resources and develop bespoke education plans to support new and existing farming co-operatives. The hotline is available online or by calling 1300 665 174

An educational bursary is a monetary award to enable a learner to undertake study that they may not be able to without financial support. For the Co-operative Farming project, it is aimed specifically at encouraging learners from the farming, fishing and forestry community to extend their capabilities through study. Once a participant is approved, the bursary will be paid directly to the education provider.

During the period of 30 April 2020 to 31 July 2021, educational bursaries are offered to applicants from within agricultural communities who are either:

  • working within a farming, fishing or forestry co-operative, or
  • have worked within the farming, fishing or forestry industries and can demonstrate their interest in the co-operative business model.

The full list of approved courses will be available from May 2020

  • Formal guidelines for applications will be available from May 2020
  • Application form will be available from May 2020
  • Applications will be accepted from May 2020

Apply for the education bursary


  • Hotline and email advisory service - commenced March
  • Education bursaries – available from May
  • Livestreaming – commencing in June
  • Website – available from July
  • Education online education modules – available from July
  • Mentoring program – available from July
  • Desktop PC and Mac
  • Ipad
  • Mobile Phone
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Firefox

If you have trouble using internet Explorer or Safari, ensure that you have the most recent version of the browser installed on your device, or try to use Chrome or Firefox as an alternative

Closed captions are available on the recorded on demand version of the live stream. This will be posted within a week of the air date.

All Episodes available on demand will be captioned and transcripts also available.

You are solely responsible for paying all expenses you may incur when you accessing the BCCM Cooperative Conversations Livestream including your internet or data service provider charges and any excess charges to that provider if you have a limit on the amount of data you can download together with all costs of the equipment and software you need to connect to and use site for streaming and any other BCCM Online Service.

BCCM is not responsible if your equipment or software is not compatible with our online services.