DROUGHT-affected farmers will now be able to receive expanded grant support from the state government to ensure they have more access to the technology and expertise they need now and to prepare for future seasons.
Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes announced the changes to funding programs to acknowledge the ongoing challenges farmers are facing dealing with drought, bushfires and coronavirus.
The maximum amount available for the On-Farm Drought Resilience Grant Program will increase from $5000 to $10,000. This means farmers can use up to $5000 for farm business planning activities and $5,000 for drought infrastructure investments.
The program now also allows applications for new equipment such as mobile phone booster technologies to improve access to the internet and online drought services, and items such as soil moisture probes.
Farmers in drought-affected areas also impacted by the bushfires will be able to reapply for the grant where their previously funded investment was destroyed or damaged.
“We know there is continued financial pressure on farmers already dealing with drought and bushfire impact – we want to make sure they have access to all the services on offer from the government,” Minister Symes said.
“We recognise that supporting farmers through informed decision-making is more important than ever.
“Our support doesn’t just help farmers now, but sets farming communities up to adapt to more frequent and severe dry conditions in years to come.”
Rural Assistance Commissioner Peter Tuohey said it was important that farmers didn’t self-assess.
“You don’t want to miss out on something you are eligible for,” he said.
“I encourage farmers who have been managing through the drought to contact Rural Finance or the Rural Financial Counselling Service to get advice on the support available to them.”
For more information on drought and dry seasonal conditions support and services visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/dryseasons or phone 136 186.