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Farmers2Founders - Year 1 Pilot- Final Report

Did you know MLA supports producer entrepreneurs to solve industry challenges?

Project start date: 13 February 2019
Project end date: 15 August 2020
Publication date: 03 June 2020
Livestock species: Lamb, Grassfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
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Summary

Farmers2Founders (F2F) is a new program to help producers develop the entrepreneurship and technology capabilities required to solve critical industry challenges and successfully bring new ag-tech, food-tech and food ventures to market.

More than 300 Australian producers from all agricultural industries, including red meat, were involved in workshops, masterclasses and online programs during the pilot year of the four-year F2F program (2019).

The high participation in the F2F pilot demonstrates the demand by red meat producers for programs of this type and reinforces the potential for producer-led ventures to achieve significant growth and change across the red meat industry.

Objectives

F2F pilot activities involved:

  • customising and designing program content and materials for workshops and online programs
  • engaging and training facilitators, coaches and mentors
  • collaborating with industry partners to promote the work.

Key findings

Insights from the pilot year include:

  • it is crucial to build trust, a community mind-set and commitment early in the program to create a working relationship between F2F facilitators and participants

  • strong connections formed between teams and the wider industry, which reinforced the importance of encouraging these types of interactions

  • producers across all sectors are interested in the emerging trends in ag-tech, food-tech and food innovation, but are not always clear about how they should respond and what the relevance is to their own farming businesses

  • it is important to have clear and jargon-free messaging regarding program objectives to ensure the right producers are aligned with the most suitable programs

  • producers are more likely to engage in programs when they receive invitations or referrals from a 'trusted source', such as local consultants and other regional service providers.

Benefits to industry

The F2F pilot year benefited producers by helping them to think differently, build new skills, access new tools and networks and advance their businesses.

Increased collaboration between producers, industry and ag-tech and food-tech systems helps to:

  • address consumer demands for greater transparency, traceability and provenance

  • help producers to directly capture increased value

  • raise awareness of new career pathways in agriculture to attract new talent and retain young producers.

MLA action

Following the successful conclusion of this program, MLA has signed up for another partnership with F2F for 2020. Funding is being provided for four red meat producers to participate in the mentoring program over the following 12 months.

For more information on this new round of funding and how to participate, contact Joshua Whelan jwhelan@mla.com.au.

Future research

Learnings from the pilot year program will be implemented in subsequent years and include:

  • improving the recruitment strategy

  • reducing the focus on generic workshops and making them more producer-specific

  • redesigning online programs to maximise participants' experience

  • maintaining extensive and clear communications of F2F programs to ensure widespread awareness with producers.

Related information

The F2F pilot year was supported through collaboration between MLA and four other Research and Development Corporations – AgriFutures AustraliaAustralian Wool InnovationGrains Research and Development Corporation and Wine Australia.

MLA news articles

MLA guides

More information

Project manager: Julie Petty
Primary researcher: Farmers2Founders Pty Ltd