Shareholder Relations Manager, Clark Taylor (Silver Fern Farms) and Director Strategy and Communications, Colm Hamrogue (Farmlands) collected the joint Co-operation Amongst Co-operatives award in recognition of the co-ops’ joint governance training initiative, To the Core. This award takes its name from one of the co-operative movement’s founding seven Rochdale Principles.

Co-operation Amongst Co-operatives: Farmlands & Silver Fern Farms (jointly)

CRITERIA:

This award relates entirely to one of the 7 Rochdale Principles, “Co-operation Amongst Co-operatives”, which is defined as:

“Co-operatives serve their Members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, regional, national and international structures”.

This award will be presented to an individual, otherwise co-operatives, who has proactively and effectively led collaborative initiatives in one or more of the following areas:

  • Growing the pie with win / win outcomes (e.g. joint supply agreements)
  • Leveraging on combined purchasing requirements when sourcing products and services
  • Avoiding duplication (e.g. common support services)
  • Sharing of information (e.g. best practice governance, driving customer value, capital raising)
  • Sharing of resources and facilities.

CITATION

“To The Core” is a joint initiative between Farmlands and Silver Fern Farms involving best practice governance training across both co-operatives. The initiative was established during the 2017/18 financial year and involves a special course designed for shareholders wishing to build their knowledge of how their co-operatives operate and to whet their appetites to develop their rural leadership and governance skills. This program delivers mutual benefits while supporting the development of future rural leaders.

“To The Core” is a win/win outcome for both co-operatives, as with 68,000 Farmlands’ Members and 21,000 Silver Fern Farms Members (or shareholders), the need for a strong pool of potential directors is critical to the longevity of both organisations. The challenge was to get shareholders engaged in the future governance of the companies that they own.

With the goal of sharing information, the course had high quality speakers from both co-operatives, and across the primary sector, addressing all areas of governance including financials, risk management, market disruption, sustainability, build strategy and more. The panel session with Sir Eoin Edgar, Stuart Heal, Maurice Noone and Juliet Maclean was a particular favourite for the participants, engaging in group sessions about leadership in governance.

The three-day course was run at Farmlands’ Christchurch support office, with 23 Farmlands and Silver Fern Farms shareholders from around New Zealand attending. The two co-operatives teamed up because some issues are better solved by working together – this was also an opportunity to share resources and facilities therefore avoiding duplication.

One of the programme participants, Brad Tatere said:

“If the objective of ‘To the Core’ is to grow a pool of future directors for our co-operatives then this was achieved. The programme was well constructed and well delivered. It provided participants with an excellent introduction to governance.”