A group promoting co-operatives says there should be a resurgence in farming co-ops this year.
2012 has been designated by the United Nations as International Year of the Co-op, celebrating the business model that's democratic, driven by members, and returns all the surplus to the local community.
The top 100 Australian co-ops turn over $14.7 billion a year and the largest by value are in agriculture.
Director of Social Business Australia, Melina Morrison, says co-ops cope better with stresses like droughts, floods and the global financial crisis.
"The co-op is there for that regional economy," she said.
"It's not upping sticks and going offshore and getting out of town, like Heinz has done recently in Girgarre because it just didn't fit the profit model that the shareholders wanted to maximise their return in that circumstance."