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University's Farming Together cooperative program vying for AFR Higher Education Award


Sharlene King
27 August 2019

Southern Cross University is a finalist in the prestigious Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards, with winners to be announced on August 27 at the Hilton Brisbane.

The University’s Farming Together Program was selected as a finalist in the Industry Engagement Award category for its game-changing farming model that addresses the unprecedented threat of increasingly volatile markets and extreme climatic conditions on Australian farmers’ livelihoods.

During its two-year pilot period, the project delivered an innovative knowledge mobilisation model to 28,500 primary producers nationwide, unlocking the power of collaboration and empowering a generation of primary producers.

Testament to its impact, Farming Together was recently promised another $3m funding from the federal government and, in 2018, its Director Lorraine Gordon received the Rural Community Leader of the Year Award. Lorraine is now the Director of Strategic Projects at Southern Cross University. The Farming Together model is embedded in the University’s engagement strategy and several ambassadors are exploring with Southern Cross how it can be replicated abroad.

Ms Gordon said: “Never before had Australian agriculture received such concerted national effort to connect its stakeholders. Drawing on the proven power of collaboration, Farming Together built from the ground-up a bespoke engagement model targeted to the diverse needs of Australian farmers.”

Initially tasked to reach 2,000 farmers, the Farming Together Program reached 28,500 nationally across 23 industries and exceeded targets by more than 300%. In a 12-month period, a $9.21m allocation added $20.45m to production value, $14.3m to household income and 131 full-time-equivalent jobs. As well, 200 industry advisors provided one-on-one advice to farmers, and Australia experienced its sharpest increase of new agricultural co-operatives.

AFR Higher Education Awards - Engagement Award Finalists

Southern Cross University – Farming Together
Deakin University – HSBC Blue Carbon citizen science program
The University of Newcastle – Integrated Innovation Network (I2N)
The University of Sydney – Transforming air travel health and wellbeing