Investing in a smarter farming future
Sustainable farming efforts are being boosted with more Australian Government support under the latest round of the $43.5 million Smart Farms Small Grants program. More than one hundred projects will share in more than $5 million to equip farmers with new skills and knowledge to improve sustainability and their bottom line.
“Our farmers have always looked after the land and we are giving them a helping hand to adopt best practice natural resource management methods,” says Agriculture Minister David Littleproud. “It is a critical time for agriculture, which is poised to lead Australia’s recovery out of COVID-19.”
The funding aims to improve the resilience and productive capacity of farms, but will also have an immediate effect of stimulating local economies and bringing people together, once we’re allowed to re-emerge from our isolation bubbles.
“Locals know best and that’s why we’re supporting them in activities such as rolling out projects to improve soil health and demonstrating how new technology, such as drones, can help farming businesses,” Minister Littleproud says.
Smart Farms Small Grants is part of the second phase of the National Landcare program, a $1.1 billion Australian Government commitment to natural resource management. Successful recipients will receive grants of up to $50,000. Projects that are funded will benefit the length and breadth of the country – from Indigenous Australian fishers and aquaculturalists in Cape York to pistachio growers in Robinvale, Victoria.
“There is a strong emphasis on knowledge building, such as Barron River Catchment Management Association’s feral pig control community engagement project in Queensland,” Minister Littleproud says. “There are also projects that adopt high-tech innovations such as South Australian No Tillage Farmers’ best practice tool for reducing catastrophic fire risk in sustainable farming systems.”
Other projects address a range of issues facing primary producers, including pest control, vegetation management, farm input efficiency, soil health, climate and market management and the use of new technologies. You can find more info about Smart Farms Small Grants on the Department of Agriculture website.