Farmers and Landcare groups in the New England are encouraged to apply for funding of up to $50,000 under round three of the Australian Government's Smart Farms Small Grants.
Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the grants would help farmers turn innovative ideas into on-ground projects to improve the quality of their natural resources while increasing on-farm productivity.
"These small grants can help our farmers, landholders and Landcare groups in the New England source funding to help improve natural resource management so the environment, communities and regional economies all benefit - a need brought into sharp focus given the ongoing drought in our region," Mr Joyce said.
Up to $5 million will be provided under Round three of the Smart Farms Small Grants; funding of between $5,000 and $50,000 is available.
Round three Smart Farms Small Grants applications are open until December 19 this year. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2022.
Local projects funded under the first two rounds included soil management at Glen Innes, native vegetation management on the Northern Tablelands, and advice on techniques and new technologies to manage feral animals in New England.
Other grant applications have included virtual fencing to protect river bank habitats; improving orchard pollination and bee health using drone technology; and mentoring activities connecting farmers and students.
Smart Farms Small Grants support projects that help farming, forestry and fishing communities to adopt best practice sustainable agriculture.
$43.5 million is available for Smart Farms Small Grants across an anticipated six annual rounds (2017-18 to 2022-23).
Under Round one, 77 projects valued at $4.75 million were approved; another 110 projects valued at $9.25 million were approved in Round two.
For more information and to apply, visit the Community Grants Hub website www.communitygrants.gov.au
Recently funded Smart Farm projects in New England:
- Soils in the Spotlight Project: aimed to help Glen Innes landholders to adopt and implement improved soil management practices.
- Grazing, Soil and Native Vegetation Management for the Future to improve Northern Tablelands farmers' skills and practical knowledge on soil health and fertility, groundcover and native vegetation.
- Ferals in Focus - Glen Innes: facilitate sharing of information, experiences, techniques and new technologies about managing vertebrate pests such as rabbits, feral pigs, foxes and wild dogs.