THE Victorian Farmers Federation’s first round of Farmers Fund grants has attracted strong interest with more than 600 applications received by the time applications closed on 30 September.
Since opening the Farmers’ Fund applications at the start of September, the VFF has received applications from dairy farmers across south eastern Australia seeking grants of up to $20,000 for infrastructure, education or expert advice that helps build a more viable business.
A selection panel made up of representatives from the VFF, its dairy arm the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria and the National Farmers Federation will now commence assessing applications.
VFF President David Jochinke stated that the strong interest in the Farmers’ Fund demonstrates there is significant demand and support for the initiative.
“The fact that the Farmers’ Fund has received a high number of applications reinforces why the VFF felt there was a need to provide dairy farmers with access to practical support for projects that strengthen their businesses,” said Mr Jochinke.
“Although there are a large number of applications, we recognise farmers need the turn-around-time on assessments to be as quick as possible and still plan to distribute grants before the end of October.
“Having UDV and NFF on the selection panel is important as they represent a broad knowledge of practical farming and the needs of modern, professional farmers, which will provide an invaluable contribution in the assessment process.”
The Farmers’ Fund was kick-started by Coles through a $1 million contribution from its Nurture Fund, allowing the VFF to fast-track the application and approval process to support as many farmers as possible in the first round.
The Farmers’ Fund will continue to raise money through the sale of Farmers’ Fund milk in Coles supermarkets across Victoria where every two-litre bottle sold for $2.50 sees 40 cents directed straight towards providing practical support to dairy farmers in south eastern Australia.
All funds raised through the sale of Farmers’ Fund milk will be distributed through a new round of grant applications every three months. Applications will be open for the second round of funding from 1 November until 31 December 2016.
To find out more about the Farmers’ Fund grant applications process please visit www.farmersfund.org.au