The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has announced a Farmers’ Fund today which will raise funds through selling a new brand of milk - with 20 cents per litre returning to the fund.
The opening of a farmer-managed grant application process at www.farmersfund.org.au will provide farmers across south eastern Australia an opportunity to apply for grants of up to $20,000.
Farmers’ Fund milk, which is produced by Murray Goulburn and Coles under licence from VFF, will provide consumers an opportunity to invest in a stronger dairy farming future where grants will be distributed for infrastructure, education or expert advice that helps build a more viable business.
Farmers’ Fund milk will be available to purchase later this week in most Coles supermarkets across Victoria for two-litres of skim or full cream milk.
VFF President David Jochinke said the establishment of the Farmers’ Fund brand had strong potential to bridge the gap between primary producers and consumers.
“Many people have asked what they can do to help dairy farmers. If they are not already buying branded milk, they can now buy Farmers’ Fund milk knowing that they are directly investing 40 cents straight into the Farmers’ Fund.
“Milk is our first product and is the start of something much greater. There is a great opportunity for a farmer advocacy group like VFF to leverage the Farmers’ Fund brand to share with consumers the challenges farmers face and show how to support them all year round, not only in times of need,’ said Mr Jochinke.
The Farmers’ Fund makes it easy for everyone to show their support and demonstrate that they believe in the great quality product that dairy farmers work hard to produce
Corey Mitchell, dairy farmer
Coles has kick started the Farmers’ Fund with a $1 million contribution from its Nurture Fund, allowing the VFF to fast- track the application and approval process for grants with the first round being distributed by mid-October. Every three months all funds raised through the sale of Farmers’ Fund milk will be distributed through a new round of applications.
Mr Corey Mitchell a dairy farmer from Tennyson in northern Victoria calls for people to support the Farmers’ Fund initiative.
“The Farmers’ Fund makes it easy for everyone to show their support and demonstrate that they believe in the great quality product that dairy farmers work hard to produce. It is also good to see that VFF has simplified the application process to ensure successful applicants receive grants as quickly as possible,” said Mr Mitchell.
VFF will oversee the management and administration of the Farmers’ Fund. Representatives from VFF, its dairy arm the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria and National Farmers Federation will act as the selection panel to ensure farmers have oversight of the fund.
Dairy farmers are encouraged to apply for grants that will help build viable businesses, including support to help farmers upgrade their dairy, install a more efficient irrigation system or increase productivity. Dairy farmers in southern Australia can apply this month with applications for the first round closing on 30 September 2016.
To find out more about the Farmers’ Fund grant applications process please visit www.farmersfund.org.au.