Horticulture growers are encouraged to apply for funding through the Smart Farms Small Grants Opportunity recently launched by the Australian Government.
The Smart Farms Small Grants Opportunity is intended to support the adoption of technologies and best practices that improve the management and quality of our natural resources and increase on-farm productivity. It is for projects seeking up to $100,000 for eligible activities to improve soil health, adapt to climate change, protect and restore biodiversity and water quality, and accelerate adoption of sustainable land management practices.
Projects which implement activities to slow and reverse soil erosion, increase soil carbon and reduce nitrous oxide emissions, improve management of nutrient and fertigation to reduce losses to the environment, enhance on-farm vegetation management, and establish on-farm integrated pest management are the types of projects the Australian Government is seeking.
What growers in our region need to know about this program is this;
- the program closes Friday 7 December at 1pm (not to be confused with the time on the website and in the guidelines which is for Daylight Savings time zones)
- applicants need an ABN
- projects must be completed by 30 April, 2020
- there are two funding tiers – Tier 1 (for applicants seeking between $5,000 and $50,000) and Tier 2 (for applicants seeking between $50,001 and $100,000)
- a co-contribution is required – this can be cash and/or in-kind
- six rounds of funding are expected to occur on an annual basis – this one is the first.
The application process is an online process. It’s not too onerous, but there is a requirement for supporting documentation that will require some preparation if not in place already. For example, applicants will need:
- end-year financial statements for up to two years
- documented organisational procedures, such as a Business Plan
- a risk management plan, and
- a communications strategy.
There are resources available to assist growers to develop supporting documentation such as a business plan and a communications strategy. For business planning, here’s a link to a Business Plan Template & Guide or alternatively the Bundaberg Business Enterprise Centre can provide business planning services for a small fee. There is a communications strategy template available to potential applicants once they register through the online portal. Additionally, BFVG can assist financial members in putting together a funding submission; we can assist non-financial members for the cost of an annual membership – $385 per business.
Further information is available on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website or by contacting Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – 07 4153 3007. To stay connected with BFVG and for further resources/information on events in the Wide Bay-Burnett region, go to our website or subscribe to our Fresh Pickings newsletter.
Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation.