Up to $10,000 is available to support farmers to future proof against the impacts of drought.
The Farm Risk Management Grants (FRMG) program was established by the Victorian Government to assist farmers plan, identify skill gaps, address management practices and implement on-farm infrastructure that improves preparedness.
The Farm Risk Management Grants (FRMG) program is a key component of the Victorian Government’s Drought Response Package and will strengthen the preparedness and capability of Victoria’s agriculture sector.
The Farm Risk Management Grants (FRMG) program will:
- increase farmers’ business planning, climate preparedness and risk management skills, and general market knowledge
- increase the number of farm businesses with business and risk management plans to operate in a challenging environmental and economic environment and take advantage of available opportunities
- assist farmers undertake development projects that would enhance the preparedness and longer term viability of the farm
- assist farmers identify skill needs through a skills audit and then receive targeted training
- assist farm businesses in accessing new and expanding markets
The Farm Risk Management Grants program will provide eligible farm businesses with grants of up to $3,000 for business planning; and development grants for preparedness activities and/or skills and training, with the combined total not exceeding $10,000. All development grants require at least a 50 per cent co-contribution.
Farmers who already have a business plan that meet the standards required for this scheme may be eligible for a development grant of up to $10,000.
Business Planning Grant
The business plan must be:
- prepared or reviewed (if an existing plan has already been developed) by a consultant who is a full member of a recognised professional body such as CPA, Chartered Accountants, Ag Institute Australia
- completed (or reviewed) within three months of the date of eligibility approval to guarantee funding and avoid the application lapsing
- assessed as complying with the minimum business plan standards required for this program.
In broad terms the plan must:
- provide a strategic assessment of the financial, production, marketing, human, and climate aspects and likely future direction of the business
- identify skill development needs and activities arising from the business plan assessment and clearly state the likely benefits of those activities to the business
- identify medium to long term business goals
- identify risks to the business and suggest mitigation options
- identify opportunities for enhancing the productivity, sustainability and management potential of the business.
Business Planning Grants will be honoured if the business plan recommends a cease of business.
There are two categories of Development Grants: Preparedness Infrastructure; or Skills and Training. Applicants can request funding from both categories if both areas are reflected as priorities in the business plan.
Participants must contribute 50 per cent of the total cost of the development activity.
To secure grant funding, development activities must be completed within six months of the date of approval of the Development Grant by Rural Finance. The grants will be administered by Rural Finance.
Preparedness Infrastructure Activities
Preparedness Infrastructure activities include the following (but are not limited to):
- adoption of reduced tillage practices, including purchase and/or modification of equipment
- initiating or upgrading information and knowledge management systems (e.g. software packages)
- improved water infrastructure for stock management (not irrigation)
- business marketing (e.g. development or re-design of business website)
- diversification of farm production to improve profitability
- farm development to improve efficiencies to farm production systems (e.g. sensor equipment, infrastructure and machinery)
- fodder storages and systems (e.g. silos, silage bunkers, hay sheds)
- re-fencing to better match property layout with land capability
- reclamation of degraded areas to deliver lasting benefits directly linked to productivity and profitability
- feeding system upgrades (e.g. feed pads)
- pasture improvements and renovation
- improving waste water and effluent management systems
- adoption of precision farming techniques (e.g. auto-steer tramlining, yield mapping and weed-seeker technology).
Skills and Training
The priority areas for training considered important include:
- financial and business management
- farm business planning and/or drought preparedness planning.
Skills and training activities include the following (but are not limited to):
- training requirements identified in the business plan related to farming or business management (including financial/risk/diversification/people management)
- training in how to use relevant computer software
- training requirements related to climate literacy (e.g. understanding seasonal risks and climate forecasts)
- one-on-one training in management skills and capacity
- participation in a leadership program
- attending an agriculture related or business/ finance/risk management/diversification/people management conference or seminar.
Applications will be considered for any form of study or training, including professional short courses or workshops, as long as it:
- involves a minimum of 16 contact hours (this may involve more than one course or workshop, and may be across multiple institutions or organisations, or offered online)
- is delivered by a registered training organisation (RTO)
- is delivered by any other reputable organisation approved through discussion with the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR).
Eligible participants are individuals who own, share or lease a primary production business in the agriculture sector, excluding start-up businesses. One Business Planning Grant and Development Grant application per farm business only.
The farm property must be located in one of the 11 local government areas in north west Victoria, which have been most seriously impacted by drought: Buloke, Yarriambiack, Loddon, Northern Grampians, Horsham, Hindmarsh, Gannawarra, Pyrenees, Central Goldfields, West Wimmera and Ararat.
Eligible participants will be required to:
- operate a farm business in Victoria, deriving at least $50,000 gross income per annum from the business
- sign a statutory declaration showing 51 per cent of income is received from primary production OR demonstrate a minimum farm related capital investment of $50,000 (excluding land purchase) that has been made in the business
- have off-farm assets of less than $750,000
- have an ABN and be registered for GST
- be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
Businesses must declare they have met the relevant criteria. Businesses may be asked to produce evidence, such as financial statements, to validate eligibility. Rural Finance may audit successful applications throughout the life of the program.
Applications now closed as funds fully expended
The Andrews Labor Government is supporting farmers to future proof against the impacts of drought with grants available from 1 July to help with business planning, training and on-farm preparedness.
$1.5 million is being made available for the Farm Risk Management Grants program, part of the Labor Government’s $10 million drought community support package announced in March this year.
Eligible farm businesses will be able to receive up to $10,000 each for a combination of activities to improve risk management and better prepare for drought.
Eligible farm businesses located in the local government areas of Buloke, Yarriambiack, Loddon, Northern Grampians, Horsham, Hindmarsh, Gannawarra, Pyrenees, Central Goldfields, West Wimmera and Ararat are encouraged to apply.
Applications will close 30 June 2017, or when funds are fully expended.
The Program is being delivered by Rural Finance. To check eligibility, apply or find out more contact Rural Finance on 1800 260 425 or visit www.ruralfinance.com.au/Industry-programs
Seasonal workshops and planning activities continue to run across the state to help producers make decisions based on their situation, farmers are encouraged to visitwww.agriculture.vic.gov.au to see what is on in their area.