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Farmers Fund awards $1 million in grants for dairy projects

DAIRY farmers across Victoria and NSW will benefit from the first grants the Victorian Farmers Federation’s Farmers Fund initiative.

COLES Supermarkets donated the $1 million for this first round from its Nurture Fund. More than 600 applications for the grants were received with 60 of these selected to receive grants of between $5,000 and $20,000.

The successful applications were chosen by an advisory panel chaired by VFF President David Jochinke and including members of the National Farmers Federation and the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria. The selection process was conducted anonymously with all applications being de-identified before being assessed by the panel

“It was a tough ask to select the best applications from 600, but all projects were considered on their merit, how they would sustain the dairy business and the commitment of the applicants to improving their farm practices over time,” Mr Jochinke said.

The selected projects covered a diverse range including;

  • Upgrades to effluent ponds

  • Building calf rearing facilities

  • Irrigation infrastructure

  • Succession planning;

  • Establishing shelter belts

  • Dairy equipment

  • Feeding systems

The range of projects put forward and the sheer number of applications made to the Fund demonstrates the challenges farmers are facing as they manage a significant drop in income as a result of the global milk price decrease. 

“With a finite amount of funding available, hard choices had to be made,” Mr Jochinke said. “No doubt some farmers will be disappointed to miss out on this round but we are opening the second round and will be able to distribute more grants early next year.”

The amount of funding available in the next round of grants will be determined by the sales of the Farmers Fund milk in Coles Supermarkets.

Applications for the next round of funding are open now and will close on December 31.

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