Farmers and fishers across the country are set to receive a boost, with $2.2 million in small grants announced to increase industry capacity and support the adoption of productive management practices.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, today said that these small grants would contribute to the overall resilience, competitiveness and productivity of Australia's agriculture and fishing industries.
"We are committed to ensuring that Australia continues to enjoy a vibrant, innovative and competitive agriculture sector," Minister Joyce said.
"These small grants will assist farmers, fishers, community groups and farming systems groups to access and share best practice in their businesses.
"This will support the adoption of industry-wide best practice throughout Australia, from the introduction of new management practices in cropping and livestock industries, to the use of new technologies in dairy, aquaculture and fisheries.
"Ultimately, adopting appropriate management practices that increase production, improve product quality and/or lower input costs also help to drive returns back through the farmgate.
"Our farmers are some of our most dedicated conservationists and sustainable land managers—which is just as well, considering they're custodians of about 53 per cent of Australia's total land mass.
"They manage pests and weeds, often at their own cost, to the benefit of all Australians. Weeds alone cost our farmers more than $3 billion every single year to control, and our farmers strive to pass on their land to future generations in a better condition than when they arrived.
"That's why we need to help share knowledge and skills across the sector—to help farmers boost their productivity while better managing natural resources including soil, water quality and availability, and native vegetation.
"We want to fund activities like field days, workshops, conferences, demonstration events, training and skill development—activities that help develop innovative practices and more sustainable use of our natural resources within the broader agricultural community.
"Grants between $5500 and $55,000 (GST inclusive) are available for such activities and I encourage farmers, fishers, community groups and other entities, including farming systems groups to apply."
Applications for the National Landcare Programme Sustainable Agriculture Small Grants Round 2015–16 close at 2 pm AEDT Monday 7 December. For more information and to read the grant guidelines visit: www.nrm.gov.au/agsmallgrants.