Grower Body Provides Dividends to Members
At a time when most grower organisations are struggling to stay afloat financially the Council of Grain Grower Organisations (COGGO) has been able to provide dividends to its members.
Total returns to members over the last few years have been in the order of $3millions with the most recent dividend of $342,375 being provided in 2013.
COGGO is a public company formed at the initiative of a group of Western Australian grain growers. Originally the organisation was concerned about inadequate resources being allocated to plant breeding and biotechnology in Western Australia. COGGO therefore initially invested in having a greater say in breeding crop varieties for Western Australian grain growers. Since then the crop breeding sector has matured and is now well supported by private sector breeding companies that are tuned into market needs and are also listening to Western Australian Growers.
In December 2011 COGGO therefore moved to be a general R&D funder of innovative projects that may benefit the grain industry and improve the profitability of grain growers in Western Australia.
COGGO Chairman Mr Chris Wilkins said the keys to understanding how COGGO works are:
* Voluntary contribution
* Research and development investments by COGGO to assist in the delivery of improved profitability for the WA grains industry
* The possibility of annual dividends equal to Australian Tax Office refunds related to COGGO funded research projects
* The potential of future dividends should any of the funded intellectual property result in a commercial return to COGGO
Chris Wilkins said “To date 19 projects have been funded to a total of nearly $1 million. Successful projects have included crop breeding, the role of fallow in cropping systems, summer weed control, insect control, grower group projects, and the development of technologies to assist farm productivity including smart phone 'Apps' and web based decision tools. A further $600,000 is available for new projects in 2015 and 30 new project proposals are currently being assessed”.
Mr Wilkins said “Many projects are too small to justify submitting a proposal to the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), or the benefits are confined to a local area in WA which may not meet national or regional funding priorities. The COGGO R&D fund has supported locally focused projects and has also been able to respond quickly to provide catalytic funds for projects. These start–up projects could be further developed into larger R&D proposals to GRDC or a commercial partner once the project has passed a “proof of concept” stage.”
He added that “the Western Australia's Grain Industry is highly competitive in domestic and international markets and makes a vital contribution to the economy of Western Australia”. He said “To keep it that way farmers must have access to the high quality research and development and the COGGO Research Fund is used to fund projects which demonstrate a clear benefit to the WA grower.”
The COGGO Research Fund is financed through a voluntary levy collected, with the cooperation of grain acquisition and marketing companies, from Western Australian grain growers who are members of COGGO. COGGO members voluntarily contribute 0.5% of their net farm-gate returns and approximately half a million dollars is allocated annually for new Research and Development projects. All WA grain growers are eligible to become members of COGGO.
The COGGO Ltd Board intends to offer an annual dividend to members for an amount equal to the R&D refund it receives from the Australian Tax Office based on the investment in innovative R&D projects. Members can then vote annually as to whether they wish to receive the dividend or not. In 2013 the dividend was in the order of 20% of Member contributions. The COGGO Research Fund also prioritises local innovative research and development projects that have the potential to generate intellectual property and possible future income streams for the company.
Further information on this exciting producer based company is available from the Company Secretary COGGO Ltd Mr Hugh Lennerts at email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 08 9310 2636.
Chair COGGO Limited
Phone: 0427 940 925
Company Secretary COGGO Limited
Phone: (08) 9310 2636
Fax: (08) 6102 3757
The COGGO research fund targets Western Australian specific research gaps that may not be suitable for funding by the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia or the Grains Research and Development Corporation which are the major funders of grain industry research and development.
GRDC will remain the main source of research funding for the Australian Grain Industry.
GRDC has a substantial income for investment into Research and Development and GRDC’s forecast income for 2014/15 is in the order of $186 million. The Corporation is funded jointly by a 0.99 per cent compulsory levy on grain growers that is matched by the Australian Government. The Australian Government matches the Corporation’s research expenditure up to a maximum of 0.5 per cent of the gross value of grains production, not exceeding the grower levies.
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COGGO Research Fund –
Investing in innovative research and development projects for the Western Australian grains industry.