Design, Development

The Farmer's Co-operative and Collaborative Pilot Program

On the 24 June 2016 Experience Digital entered its Expression of Interest to work on the Digital Systems for the Farmer's Co-operative Pilot Program (or "FCCPP"). The delivery timeframes for the project were some of the tightest we have ever seen, as we would have to design and develop a website due for launch, without issue on 28/08/2016.

If we were successful in the overall tendering process we would only be provided with final confirmation on, or around the 27th of July 2016. Thus the challenge was clear: provide a functioning, professional, modern website with all necessary functionality within 4 weeks.

The White Paper

The FCCPP is the programmatic child of the Agricultural Competitiveness ("AC") White Paper. In order to understand the reasons why these timeframes were so correctly tight, it is vital to understand the importance of this program.

The AC White Paper is a paper which details the Australian Federal Government's plan to provide Farmers (and Primary Producers) with the tools they need to continue to be competitive in modern markets. The White Paper provides several streams of support, the total output of which should result in higher at-gate prices for Primary Producers, thereby improving the Agricultural Sector's ability to compete and remain competitive both across Australia and globally when exporting goods.

A major problem facing farmers in Australia is that, due to market forces, they are forced into unequal bargaining positions with buyers. As a result they become what is termed 'price takers'. This means that at-gate pricing across Australia has been staggeringly reduced in modern times to the point where some farmers were being forced to sell below production cost.

There are many ways to combat these market forces without regulation. Consumer education, better infrastructure, better farmer education and direct-to-consumer marketing and production lines are helping. The Government has also earmarked a sizeable amount of budgetary money to boosting the on-the-ground efforts of farmers and consumers Australia wide.

A part of this wider plan is the Farmers Co-operative and Collaborative Pilot Program.

The Program

The FCCPP seeks to provide farmers with education and services, and assist them with creating collaborative organisations in order to level the contractual playing field with buyers.

Co-operatives and less formal collaborative structures mean, in the simplest of terms, that many farmers band together to become a larger group, with greater buying and selling power than each individual member.

Co-operatives and collaboratives are member focussed organisations, and provide their constituent members with benefits that other structures may not be able to provide. By holding the member as the most important stakeholder, rather than the organisation itself, the benefits are guaranteed to flow back to the farm gate.

This is an incredible opportunity for Agriculture in Australia, and we considered the privilege to be a part of it absolutely worth the challenge of delivering within the tight timeframes provided.

The Reason for the Timeframes

The reason for the timeframes are simple: Farmers need help now. Once the budget was established, and the operational framework was determined, the program couldn't sit around waiting for a digital delivery that could drag out for months. We understood this.

Many people said it couldn't be done, however here at Experience Digital that isn't something which we believe in. If a human being can dream it, a human being can make it.

Winning the Tender

Winning the Tender was an amazing experience for us. We felt privileged to be a part of the Program, we felt honoured to be chosen, we felt the exhilaration of a new project and then we felt the necessary pressure to deliver.

We were tasked with creating a website, which would have a Content Management System and, eventually be fed into a Client Relationship Manager which would manage the Pilot Program's delivery of services to Primary Producers.

The launch date was set. The Inaugural National Forum began on 29 August 2016, where we would be in attendance to unveil to the Forum, and to Australia, the new FCCPP website. It had to work.

Our Team and the Impossible

Our team worked miracles, but beyond that they worked hard. From the Design team, through the Client Relation team, to the Development team everyone worked exceptionally hard to deliver on this promise.

Special kudos has to be given to our development team who managed to create a professional, functioning website, with a CRM backend in under 2 weeks. Many of them stayed back on weekends, worked until 5 am and missed important life events just to deliver what all of us know is an incredibly important system for Australian Agriculture.

We are so thankful to our team who went above and beyond, we are thankful to delivery team who worked with us from Muller Enterprises and the Southern Cross University, and we are thankful to the Federal Government for recognising that Primary Producers Australia wide can do incredible things if they can get access to the services and education they need to create, produce, grow and sell.

We would like to present, which we hope will be a part of something much, much larger.

This is the story of the Federal Government's plan for Australian Agriculture and how we came to be a part of it.

There is more to this story: how we came to work with Southern Cross University to create a powerful, service delivery system. Please click this link in order to read on.

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