29 May 2021

Two drought programs to help farmers and communities prepare

| Katrina Condie
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Woman farmer watching rural harvest holding laptop computer

The Farm Business Resilience Program and Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program will be funded under the Australian Government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund. Photo: Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

The Federal Government is working with Australia’s states to deliver two programs aimed at supporting farmers and helping communities build resilience to future droughts.

The $16 million Farm Business Resilience Program and $9.85 million Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program will be funded under the Australian Government’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the planning program will support partnerships of regional organisations, councils, communities and farmers to develop regional drought resilience plans.

“The plans will identify how to manage through droughts by finding ways to build resilience across agricultural sectors and allied industries,” he said.

“Planning will be community-led and owned. It will bring regional knowledge and perspectives along with the best available evidence and data.

“Australian farmers manage uncertainty daily and the business of farming is becoming more challenging.”

The Farm Business Resilience Program will give farmers access to subsidised learning and development opportunities to meet these challenges.

“The program will take farmers’ knowledge and skills to the next level in risk management and decision making, natural resource management, and personal and social resilience,” said Minister Littleproud.

“It will also support farm business planning, access to experts and one-on-one advice.”

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ACT Minister for the Environment Rebecca Vassarotti said Canberra will benefit from $150,000 in Future Drought Fund funding for the Farm Business Resilience Program, and more than $300,000 for the Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program.

She said farmers are already building capacity and responding to the challenges of the changing climate and conditions.

“The Farm Business Resilience Program will work with farming families, providing them with dedicated tailored support to build their drought resilience,” said Minister Vassarotti.

“With this support and other ACT Government programs aimed at building farm and farmer resilience, our ACT rural landholders will be better able to address the challenges posed by climate change, market fluctuations, biosecurity challenges and drought.

“The regional drought resilience plan for the ACT will be led by the ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate in collaboration with Regional Development Australia authorities, the ACT Rural Landholders’ Association, and state and local government authorities in the broader southeast of NSW.

“The plan will build on existing ACT Government plans and strategies, including the ACT Climate Change Strategy and NRM Investment Plan.”

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said his state will benefit from $5.5 million in Future Drought Fund funding for the Farm Business Resilience Program, and $1.9 million for the Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program.

He said NSW has made its way through the worst drought in recorded history, and now is the time to start planning against future droughts.

“Our agriculture sector is the backbone of this state, and we have seen the devastating social and economic impacts drought can have so we need to act now to prevent this happening again,” said Mr Barilaro.

“The planning will connect with, and build on, our regional economic development and water strategies. Plans will be locally led and will support our community leaders and networks to make our communities safer, stronger and more resilient to the impacts of future droughts.

“The Farm Business Resilience Program would see hubs set up across NSW for farmers to work on their farm business skills in a way that works for them.”

Both programs will be rolled out across Australia during the next 12 months.

The Future Drought Fund is a long-term sustained investment of $100 million each year to build drought preparedness.

The Australian Government has recently announced an additional $91 million for both programs over three years beyond the foundational year, and will be working with states and territories on the detail.

Original Article published by Katrina Condie on About Regional.

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