The final round of the Smart Farms Small Grants program has $13 million available

The final round of the Federal Government’s Smart Farms Small Grants program is now open, with $13 million in grants over two years to help farmers and land managers improve their understanding and management of their soil.

The Smart Farms Small Grants supports the adoption of best practices that improve the management and quality of our natural resources, while also increasing on-farm productivity and profitability. 

This final round of Smart Farms Small Grants is giving farmers the opportunity to to change the way they look at their soil and improve how they manage it.

Soil is the fundamental building block that not only delivers for agricultural production, but also helps the environment and biodiversity and, if done right, contributes to the social well-being of rural and regional Australia.

Soil extension activities will give farmers and land managers the tools they need to make a difference. This includes increasing uptake of soil testing, better utilising soil data and information, and making informed and evidence-based decisions for the next and future growing seasons.

If farmers and land managers get this right they will see increased productivity and profitability, which will help the entire agriculture sector reach its Ag2030 goal to grow agriculture to $100 billion by 2030.

The Smart Farms Small Grants: Soil Extension initiative will link the objectives of the Smart Farms Small Grants Program with the National Soil Strategy, which was launched in May 2021.

Under this round, multiple activities may be applied for in the one application. Grants are available for between $100,000 to $250,000 per activity and will be delivered over two years.

Applicants may apply for a maximum of $2 million per application.

Eligible activities could include engaging a soil extension officer; conducting soil management workshops, seminars, roadshows or field days; creating communications products, webinars or online materials; and/or establishing trials, demonstrations and monitoring sites.

Extension Activities will seek to improve soil management, improving productivity and profitability. These measures will also support and complement the two-year National Soil Monitoring and Incentives Pilot Program which forms part of the National Soil Strategy.

Applications open 7 September 2021 and close 9pm AEDT 12 October 2021.

For more information and details on how to apply, go to the Community Grants Hub link.

Fast Facts:

·         The Smart Farms program is the key agriculture portfolio initiative under phase two of the $1.1 billion National Landcare Program.

·         To date, Smart Farms Small Grants has funded a total of 384 projects to the value of $25.5 million.

·         The National Soil Strategy sets out how Australia will value, manage and improve its soil for the next 20 years.

·         More than $54 million will be available under National Soil Monitoring and Incentives Pilot Program to encourage farmers and land managers to undertake more comprehensive soil testing in exchange for sharing their data with the program.

·         Information about the Australian Government’s investment in Landcare can be found at www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/natural-resources/landcare/national-landcare-program/australian-government-investment-in-landcare

·         Information about the National Soil Strategy can be found at www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/natural-resources/soils 

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