MORE than 500 dairy farming families are enjoying some extra Christmas cheer after receiving donated hampers.
Premier Daniel Andrews today joined dairy farmers in the Echuca area to announce the $1.8 million grants program.
“We were elected to put people first and that’s exactly what we’re doing with our dairy farmers during these tough times,” the Premier said.
Eligible farm businesses can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to invest in fixed infrastructure to improve their farm. But there is a catch - a minimum dollar for dollar co-contribution from the farm business is required to receive the program’s support.
Farmers can use the funding to support operational improvements like irrigation, install better permanent milk vats or fodder storage, undertake pasture renovation, purchase improved sensor technology and upgrade on-farm infrastructure.
Access to the grants is not limited to Murray Goulburn and Fonterra suppliers given the challenging seasonal and economic conditions impacting all dairy farmers.
The program is part of the Victorian Government’s $13.5 million Dairy Assistance Package.
The development grants will remain open until 30 June 2017, or until the program funds are fully allocated.
To access the grants, applicants will need to have an ABN, be registered for GST and derive at least 50 per cent of their primary income from farming.
“Whether it’s grants to support farm businesses, retraining opportunities through TAFE or free kinder, we’ll give dairy families the support they need to get them back on their feet,” Mr Andrews said.
Rural Finance will deliver the grants program and farm business can check the eligibility criteria by contacting Rural Finance on 1800 260 425 or by visiting www.ruralfinance.com.au/Industry-programs.