What is the Smart Farms Small Grants?

The National Landcare Program – Smart Farms Small Grants is an open, competitive, grant opportunity to support projects to increase farming, forestry and fishing communities’ awareness, knowledge, skills and capacity to adopt best practice sustainable agriculture.

 

Background

The Australian Government’s policy purpose for Smart Farms Small Grants is to support land manager practice change that will deliver more sustainable, productive and profitable food, fibre and forestry business while protecting Australia’s biodiversity; protecting and improving the condition of natural resources; and assisting Australia meet its international obligations.

A total of $43.5 million (GST exclusive) is available for Smart Farms Small Grants over six years (2017–18 to 2022–23).

  • The first round opened for applications in October 2017 from which, the then Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources approved 77 projects totalling $4.75 million (GST exclusive).
  • The second round opened for applications in November 2018 from which the then Minister for Agriculture approved 110 projects totalling $9.246 million (GST exclusive).
  • The third round opened for applications in October 2019 from which the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management approved 113 projects totalling $5.03 million (GST exclusive).
  • This grant opportunity is the fourth round.

 

Objectives

Outcome 1 – Increased adoption of best practice sustainable agriculture

Smart Farms Small Grants Round 4 will:

  • directly improve eligible natural resources and improve on-farm adoption of best practice sustainable agriculture
  • increase the number of Australia’s farming, fisheries, aquaculture and forestry entities that have adopted best practice sustainable agriculture
  • maintain or improve Australia’s soil, water and vegetation resources and accommodate the sustainable use of biodiversity.

Achieving this outcome will:

  • deliver benefits to Australia’s natural resource base and the broader community
  • result in improved economic and social outcomes through better food, fibre and forestry industry sustainability, productivity, and profitability
  • assist entities and industries to improve their own sustainability, productivity, profitability and ability to adapt to significant changes in climate, weather and markets
  • improve the capacity of food, fibre and forestry businesses to demonstrate the sustainability of their operations through the traceability of their products.

Outcome 2 – Increase the capacity of land managers to adopt best practice sustainable agriculture

Smart Farms Small Grants Round 4 will:

  • increase the awareness, knowledge and skills of Australia’s farming, fisheries, aquaculture and forestry entities and managers in best practice sustainable agriculture
  • increase the capacity and capability of community and Landcare groups to assist in the adoption of best practice sustainable agriculture.

Achieving this outcome will:

  • increase food, fibre and forestry businesses (and other land manager’s) awareness of; understanding of; ability to; and importance of; adopting best practice sustainable management of Australia’s soil, water, vegetation and biodiversity
  • increase the awareness and skill of land managers to adapt to changing climate, weather and markets
  • increase engagement and participation by regional communities and groups, including Landcare, professional farming system groups, industry, other community groups or individuals in best practice sustainable agriculture activities
  • increase the capacity and confidence of regional community leaders, including women, young people and Indigenous Australians, to support the adoption of best practice sustainable agriculture
  • improve the organisational capability of community and Landcare groups, so that they can better improve land manager’s awareness, understanding of, and ability to adopt best practice sustainable agriculture.

 

Funding

The Australian Government has announced a total of $43.5 million (GST exclusive) over six years from 2017-18 to 2022-23 for Smart Farms Small Grants. For this grant opportunity (Round 4), $6.5 million (GST exclusive) is available.

The Smart Farms Small Grants – Round 4 grant opportunity is open from 24 August 2020 to 9 October 2020.

  • The minimum grant amount is $5,000 (GST exclusive).
  • The maximum grant amount is $100,000 (GST exclusive).

 

Eligible Projects

Projects may relate to any form of food, fibre and forestry production, including cropping, pasture and rangelands grazing livestock, dairy, horticulture, mixed farming, forestry, farm forestry, fishing and aquaculture.

The purpose will be achieved by supporting projects that contribute to achieving one or both of the program outcomes.

To be eligible, your proposed project must meet all of the following:

  • the project must contribute to achieving at least one of the two outcomes described at section 2.3 of the guidelines
  • projects contributing to achieving Outcome 1 must contribute to improving Australian food, fibre and forestry business productivity and profitability and must protect or improve eligible natural resources (see section 4.5.2 of the guidelines)
  • total grant funding sought must be between $5,000 and $100,000 (GST exclusive)
  • all project activities must be planned to be completed by 30 June 2023
  • all project activities must be eligible activities (see section 5.1 of the guidelines)
  • no project activities may be ineligible activities (see section 5.3 of the guidelines)
  • the project must achieve a public benefit that would not occur without the grant and that is at-least proportional to the amount of the grant
  • the private beneficiary’s contribution to the cost of the project is at least proportional to any private benefit obtained.

Projects must contribute to achieving at least one of the two Smart Farms Small Grants Round 4 outcomes. In your application, you must identify the outcome your proposed project will contribute to achieving. These are:

  • Outcome 1: Increased adoption of best practice sustainable agriculture.
    • Undertaking activities that directly improve eligible natural resources and improve on-farm adoption of best practice sustainable agriculture.
  • Outcome 2: Increase the capacity of land managers to adopt best practice sustainable agriculture.
    • Undertaking activities that will increase land managers’ awareness, knowledge and skills to sustainably manage eligible natural resources by adopting best practice sustainable agriculture; and/or
    • Undertaking activities that will increase the capacity and capability of community and Landcare groups to assist in the adoption of best practice sustainable agriculture.

 

Eligible Applicants

To be eligible to apply for a grant you must be an individual or an organisation capable of entering into a legally binding and enforceable agreement with the Commonwealth. To be eligible you must be one of the following entity types:

  • Commonwealth Company
  • Company
  • Cooperative
  • Corporate Commonwealth Entity
  • Corporate State or Territory Entity
  • Incorporated Association
  • Indigenous Corporation
  • International Entity
  • Local Government
  • Non-corporate State or Territory Entity
  • Non-corporate State or Territory Statutory Authority
  • Partnership
  • Person
  • Sole Trader
  • Statutory Entity
  • Trustee on behalf of a Trust.

Applications from consortia are eligible, as long as you have a lead applicant who is solely accountable to the Commonwealth for the delivery of grant activities and who is an eligible entity as per the list above. Eligible organisations can form a consortium with ineligible organisations.

You must have the following additional eligibility requirements in place before you apply:

  • have an Australian Business Number
  • be registered for the purposes of GST
  • have an account with an Australian financial institution
  • for individuals, be a permanent resident of Australia
  • for international entities, be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to carry on business in Australia.

If you do not meet these additional requirements, you will not be eligible.

 

Timing

Applications close 09 October 2020.

 

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