FROM drought support to grants for craft food and drink producers, the state government says it is supporting farmers right across Victoria.
Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes this week visited Strathbogie Meatsmiths and Tallarook farmers’ market to announce some of the almost 250 recipients of the Labor government’s Artisanal Sector Program, which provides up to $5000 for small-scale craft food and drink producers to grow their businesses.
While recent rain has brought some relief to Victoria, there are still many challenges facing our farmers – including ongoing dry conditions.
Ms Symes said: “We’re proud to be backing Victorian farmers to keep producing their quality food and fibre.
“It’s disappointing and frustrating to see people spreading misinformation about drought support to farmers, potentially stopping them from accessing funding and resources that could make all the difference in tough dry conditions.”
There is a range of support from the Labor Government and the Commonwealth available to all farmers across Victoria, including:
■Technical assistance delivered by Agriculture Victoria, which provides technical advice and delivers workshops and webinars to assist farm businesses in managing dry seasonal conditions.
■Rural Financial Counselling Service, which provides free financial counselling to primary producers, fishers and small rural businesses who are experiencing financial hardship.
■Commonwealth Farm Household Allowance, which provides income welfare support for eligible farm businesses experiencing financial hardship.
■Commonwealth Government Concessional Loans for drought and farm investments, which are delivered by the Regional Investment Corporation.
■The On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme, which provides a 25 per cent rebate up to $25,000 (GST exclusive) to eligible primary producers for the costs associated with the purchase and installation of on-farm water infrastructure that addresses animal welfare needs and improves resilience to drought and dry conditions.
Tooborac-based pork producers McIvor Farms Foods as well as their nearby neighbors Caringa Pastoral, who produce lamb and honey products, have received close to $5000 each to further develop their businesses.
Innovative Heathcote tea producer Thyme for Tea will use the grant to invest in a new labelling machine, while Seymour’s Blue Tongue Berries have installed a solar-power water pump in their dam.
Local egg producers Dalhousie farm and Fenech Farm will use their grants to purchase infrastructure and equipment to support the growth of their businesses.
Pete’s Travelling Pans, who make curry pastes, chutneys and pickles from a home-based commercial kitchen in Heathcote Junction, will upgrade to kitchen equipment and upscale their business and employ an additional worker. For further information on the support programs, please visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/dryseasons.