Co-operation and co-ops are ideally placed to drive forward innovation and supply chain relationships that enable shared risk-taking and scalability, both amongst farmers and in their connections with supply chain customers.
These examples provide just an indication of the variety and scope of innovation projects in co-ops:
- The six Focus Farms in the ANM Group/Farmers Journal Farm Profit Programme experienced an average increase in gross margin/cow of £115 in year one. Weekly updates on the Focus Farms’ progress are now reaching 2,000 article views per week, proving an effective route for knowledge exchange between livestock producers.
- Farm Stock Scotland, in collaboration with supply chain partners, is working to identify farm management factors to enable the year-round supply of ‘M&S Scotch lamb’. This includes researching and piloting a new specification.
- New markets in the Far East for Scottish seed potatoes have been developed for the last two years by Grampian Growers. Last year the co-op will also trial potato plots in Zimbabwe and Kenya.
- Through the involvement of SAOS, the Milk Suppliers Association (MSA) has completed 25 on-farm lean management reviews, resulting in average identified savings of several pence per litre.
- First Milk has a continuing long-term collaboration with Nestlé, which focuses on continuous improvements in milk quality, lean farming methods (enabling a reduction in GHG emissions), environmental sustainability (soil, water and biodiversity), the next generation of farmers, and animal welfare.
- Ringlink Scotland devised the first pre-apprenticeship scheme targeted at school leavers, to address an increasingly acute skills shortage in the industry. This has been devised in direct response to the needs of members.