Grants to support Sunshine Coast sustainable farming innovation
Farmers and landcare groups in the Sunshine Coast hinterland are encouraged to apply for funding of up to $50,000 under round three of the Australian Government’s Smart Farms Small Grants program.
Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace said a grant under the previous round of this program is already helping farmers in Maleny turn innovative ideas into on-ground projects to improve the quality of their natural resources while increasing on-farm productivity.
“Farmers are the custodians of more than half of Australia’s land and they are keen to pass it on in a better state,” Mr Wallace said.
“These small grants can help our farmers, landholders and Landcare groups on the Sunshine Coast source funding to help improve natural resource management so the environment, communities and regional economies all benefit. Last year, Lake Baroon Catchment Care Group won a grant of $49,878 for their Maleny Sustainable Beef project, and I want to see more funding come to our community in this round.” he said.
The Maleny Sustainable Beef project is seeing 30 local beef graziers learn best practice techniques in soil, fertiliser, grazing and water management, as well as supporting them in implementing these techniques. Training under the project includes workshops and discussion groups as well as field walks through demonstration sites created by the LBCCG. The group is conducting soil tests and creating individualised action plans as well as evaluating results to support graziers in implementing new techniques on their own farms.
“Up to $5 million will be provided under Round three of the Smart Farms Small Grants, with funding of between $5,000 and $50,000 available.
“Other projects funded under the first two rounds included innovative methods to manage soil acidity; virtual fencing to protect riparian habitat; improving orchard pollination and bee health using drone technology, as well as mentoring activities connecting farmers and students.
“Smart Farms Small Grants supports projects that increase the knowledge, skills and capacity of farming, forestry and fishing communities to adopt best practice sustainable agriculture.”
A total of $43.5 million is available for Smart Farms Small Grants across an anticipated six annual rounds (2017–18 to 2022–23).
Under Round one, 77 projects valued at $4.75 million were approved, with another 110 projects valued at $9.25 million approved under Round two.
Round three projects must be completed by 30 June 2022.
Round three Smart Farms Small Grants applications are open until 19 December 2019.
For more information and to apply visit the Community Grants Hub website www.communitygrants.gov.au.