A re-elected Liberal and Nationals Government will double the amount farmers can access under a $1 billion expansion of the successful Farm Innovation Fund.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said farmers will now be able to borrow up to $2 million to identify and address risks to their businesses, improve on-farm infrastructure and ensure long-term productivity and sustainable land use.
“For almost a decade, the Farm Innovation Fund has given farmers access to long-term, low-interest loans of up to $1 million to finance projects that contribute to productivity and resilience – now we are doubling that,” said Mr Toole.
“To date, more than $840 million in loans under the Farm Innovation Fund, Seafood Innovation Fund and Drought Assistance Fund have been approved, assisting more than 8,600 NSW farmers to help launch crucial innovation and infrastructure projects.”
“Not only are we planning to increase the maximum loan amount from $1 million to $2 million, we also want to expand the program so the loan can be accessed for the adoption of new technologies, the usage of automation and robotics to address labour shortages and carbon farming infrastructure.”
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said farm productivity will always be a priority for the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government.
“The Farm Innovation Fund is evolving to keep up with changing economic and environmental challenges and to keep up with the level of innovation we are seeing in agriculture,” Mr Saunders said.
“The fund will no longer be limited to on farm infrastructure but rather the imagination of farmers who want to future proof their land, their operations and their businesses.
“Through this boost, farmers will be able to invest in a range of initiatives to become more profitable, resilient and sustainable such as new energy generation, automation, boosting soil carbon, reducing emissions and increasing vegetation.”
Chief Winemaker at Robert Stein Winery Jacob Stein said he’s excited for what this significant Government support will mean for the future of his business.
“I have always been keen to look at opportunities for automation within our winery and our vineyard but haven’t had the cash flow to do so,” Mr Stein said.
“Thanks to this program, I will be able to look into some of the opportunities that are emerging to keep us competitive with the bigger players in the industry.”