Emma Parsons, CEO of Agrigate, a 50/50 joint venture between Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) and Fonterra, collected the 2019 Co-operation Amongst Co-operatives award for the co-ops’ data-sharing and exchange platform.
Cooperative Business NZ CEO Craig Presland said,
“The co-operation of LIC and Fonterra demonstrates their joint and genuine understanding of what it means to be a co-operative – working in collaboration as a way of meeting members’ needs.”
This award, which takes its name from one of the co-operative movement’s founding seven Rochdale Principles, recognises the fact that co-ops serve their members most effectively by working together.
Craig says the Agrigate platform, first envisaged five years ago by the late John Wilson, former Chair of Fonterra, and LIC Chair Murray King, embodies this seventh principle.
“Together, John and Murray recognised that farmers increasingly employ a number of digital tools, all working independently of one another rather than in unison. They decided that aggregating LIC and Fonterra data onto one platform would make data management much easier for farmers.
“Since then, LIC and Fonterra have collaborated to launch and develop Agrigate, a data-sharing and exchange platform that helps farmers improve farm performance and remove some of their biggest pain points: data duplication for compliance reporting, plus the need to analyse streams of data from different sources.”
Craig said that just the mention of data-sharing can lead to many organisations pulling up their drawbridges and gathering their defences.
“Co-operating to launch and grow Agrigate has established a NZ-first amongst co-operatives – sharing data that enables win-win outcomes for farmers. LIC and Fonterra jointly and equally invested in Agrigate, developed a concept and trialled it with a focus group of farmers before officially launching it in February 2017.
“It is absolutely essential for the future of dairy farming in New Zealand that these sets of data can be brought together and used by farmers for better farm performance and benchmarking, along with research. Emma Parsons, in heading Agrigate since June 2017, has taken it from a concept to a real platform while also now being an effective data integrator. The platform brings data together in one place for farmers, co-ops, banks, rural professionals and researchers, while Agrigate is now working with Dairy NZ on how it can leverage it as a research platform,” Craig said.