$134 million over six years for the Smart Farms program
Part of Coalition Government’s $1 billion investment in the next phase of the National Landcare Program
Smart Farms is focused on protecting Australia’s natural resources of soils, water, vegetation and biodiversity by facilitating the development and adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices
Farmers, fishers and community groups will soon be ‘farming smarter’ thanks to $134 million for a landmark new program under the next phase of the Coalition Government’s $1 billion National Landcare Program.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the Smart Farms initiative will support further development and adoption of sustainable farming practices. Grants to eligible organisations and individuals will assist farmers, fishers and aquaculture operators to protect natural resources, deliver benefits for the community and contribute to increased productivity, and farm-gate returns.
“The Coalition Government is backing Australia’s farmers who manage 61 per cent, or well over half, of Australia’s landmass, to meet our national and global demand for food and fibre,” Minister Joyce said.
“Our farmers have an international reputation as sustainable land managers and Smart Farms will assist farmers, fishers, community and industry groups to further develop and share better land management practices and therefore strengthen their resilience, competitiveness and productivity.
“This program includes small projects that can make a real difference to a local community and deliver excellent value for money.
“For example, Cotton Australia and the Cotton Research Development Corporation received just over $422,000 for an Innovation Grant from the current National Landcare Program for the project ‘Sustainable Australian Cotton Production Supplying International Markets, in Narrabri, NSW’.
“The project has improved the industry’s web-based, best management practice platform—myBMP— which is an important tool that incorporates and demonstrates to the community the industry’s improved farming practices and careful management of our natural resources.
“The project has also been pivotal in the development and integration of sustainability indicators to enable the Australian cotton industry to expand into internationally sustainable cotton markets.
Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, said farming and regional communities will continue to benefit from the Government’s investment.
“There are three elements to the Smart Farms Program and each will focus on improving soil, vegetation and biodiversity condition and support agricultural systems to adapt to change,” Minister Hartsuyker said.
The three elements to the Smart Farms Program are:
Smart Farming Partnerships ($60 million over six years): Large multi-year grants for projects, with organisations working in partnership to develop, trial and implement new and innovative practices and tools that support uptake of sustainable agriculture practices across our agricultural, fishing, aquaculture and farm forestry industries.
Smart Farms Small Grants ($50 million over six years): Small grants program (grants between $5,000 and $100,000) to develop and extend new tools and technologies that help farmers, fishers, foresters and regional communities adopt best practice land management.
Building Landcare Community and Capacity ($24 million over six years): will support the sharing of knowledge and achievements and community leadership in adopting sustainable agricultural practices.
“The program supports the sharing of knowledge and achievements, whilst promoting community leadership which will help farmers boost their productivity and better manage natural resources,” said Minister Hartsuyker.
Further details on the Smart Farms Program will be available on www.nrm.gov.au and on the National Landcare Program Facebook page over the next few weeks.