Fair Farms program pays out $3.2 million to support horticulture employers

The Australian Government has granted $3.2 million to Growcom to bolster uptake of the Fair Farms program and help more horticulture producers get on board with the program.

The Fair Farms program has been put into place to help horticulture businesses ensure their workers are fully covered for work health and safety regulations.

Fair Farms was put together by Growcom to support all members of the Australian horticulture supply chain with the tools, information and training they need to be a compliant and ethical employer.

The $3.2 million grant is to encourage anyone involved in the horticulture supply chain to be part of this program.

The program is expected to be a game-changer for the horticulture industry and funding will also help Growcom look at expanding it to other relevant agricultural sectors at a later stage. 

Growcom Chief Executive Officer Stephen Barnard said the Fair Farms program is a way for growers to show they are taking responsibility and doing the right thing by their employees.

 “We are very excited by this investment from the Australian Government to support the further uptake of the industry led Fair Farms program,” Mr Barnard said.

“Growcom developed Fair Farms with industry to support growers and promote awareness and education of ethical employment practices across the fresh produce sector in Australia.

“By participating in the program, growers can confidently implement Australian workplace relations, laws and industry standards while doing what they do best – grow top-notch food for Australians.”

Yalara Hydrogardens located near Toowoomba Qld grows leafy greens and recently became Fair Farms certified.

Yalara Hydrogardens’ Janice Cowie said the Fair Farms program confirmed the ethical practices they already had in place.

“If you feel that you are already an ethical grower, the Fair Farms program will confirm and support what you already have in place,” Ms Cowie said.

“The initial thought of another set of rules to abide by within our farming business – which we have run since 1994 relatively incident-free – was not something I was excited about. 

“But once getting into the Fair Farms program, most of the guidelines and rules were common practice to our farm anyway.” For more information go to this link.               

How Fair Farms operates:

· Fair Farms is national initiative developed and implemented by Growcom, peak industry body for horticulture in Queensland, with support from the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, and AUSVEG.

· The $3.2 million in administered funds over four years is part of the Government’s AgATTRACT initiative announced in the 2021-22 Budget.

· The Australian Government has committed over $60 million in the 2020-21 MYEFO and 2021-22 Budget to invest in measures to secure workers for the farming sector.