The changes that are taking place in Australia right now are so fast-paced and so unpredictable it is hard to keep up. Whether it is drought killing off our livestock, or floods wreaking catastrophic havoc, you – the farmers – are doing it tough. And yet, that’s part of being an Aussie farmer. Hardship and adversity are in your blood. You know how to handle the good days and how to prepare for the bad days, always knowing that nothing is certain, and you’re only as good as your last harvest.
The Australian Government supports Aussie Farmers and there are a range of government grants available for farmers who are struggling – and we wanted to bring together some of the farm grants that are available to you in the hopes that it might bring some opportunity to you in your time of need.
Farm Household Allowance
If you are experiencing hardship and are a farmer who is an Australian citizen, you may be eligible to apply for the farm household allowance. You need to contribute a significant part of your labour and capital to your farm business, and you must be prepared to enter into a financial improvement agreement.
You can access a fortnightly payment for a period of up to four years – and the payment you get will depend on your situation. But as of now, it is possible to get two lump sum payment of up to $12,000 which is available to eligible farmers and their partners. As part of the farm household allowance you can also get:
- A health care card
- Funding to help you develop skills
- A financial assessment of your farm business
- Allowances to help with things like rent, your phone and medicine
You can find out more about this allowance here, or by calling the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316.
Often, mental health is an issue for farmers who are doing it tough but who still have to maintain a stiff upper lip for their family. Everyone knows the harsh and devastating impact that unmanaged mental health issues can have in our community. We know that you are doing it tough and that you are at the mercy of our climate, the weather, and the seasons. To help out, the Australian Government has got free support services for:
- Family support
- Counselling support
- Advice and referrals
- Community mental health events
You do not have to hide your mental health struggles and you should reach out for support when you need it. Your family and your community need you, and the resources are there – call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for immediate help, otherwise call the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 13 23 16 Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm.
Water is one of the biggest expenses for our farmers, which is why the Australian Government offers water rebates and is offering $50 million over three years starting from the 2018-19 financial year. Farmers in NSW can apply via the NSW Rural Assistance Authority website while farmers in SA can apply through the Primary Industries and Regions SA website, and the ACT can apply for the rebate through the ACT Government Environment Website. If you are not located in these states or territories, your arrangements will be announced accordingly and in a short time, but you can also organise to submit your interest by contacting your local agricultural department.
- Primary producer who is a property owner, a share farmer or a leaseholder
- You’re in a drought area
- You’re in the grazing industry
When you receive a water rebate, you can spend the money on infrastructure that assists with your grazing (not agisted stock), animal welfare, or to improve your overall drought resilience. You can spend the money on buying and installing pipes, pumps, water management systems, or on things like desilting dams or drilling a new stock bore.
You might also be eligible to apply for further funding through the Murray-Darling Basin Water Infrastructure program.
Pest and weed management grants
These are a burden in good times, and without the right funding and support, pests and weeds can be a nightmare in times of drought. The government provides funding for pest animals and weeds with funding available to local councils and organisations. If you’re involved with your local council or an organisation, you can apply for funding to assist a program where a group of landholders work together to manage pests or weeds, and where state/territory governments have buy-in. Critical goals include:
- Improving ground cover
- Improving landscape health
- Stock survival
Find out more about these grants here.
Farm management grants
If you are considering succession planning and are struggling with the costs, there are grants to assist you. The costs that are eligible for rebates include costs associated with professional advice from solicitor or accountants. A rebate of up to 50% of the amount paid to a maximum of $2,500 per financial year, is available to farmers. This scheme does close on 30 June 2019 so it is wise to get in early if you are putting succession planning in place.
Eligibility for a farm management grant:
- You’re a primary producer or the relative of a primary producer
- You have paid or will pay for advice relating to transferring or acquiring an interest in a primary production enterprise on or after 23 March 2017
You can read the full guidelines here and apply online at this link. You can also call 1800 623 946 to speak to someone from the farm management grants information line if you need help with applying.
We hope you have found this helpful. EZ Machinery cares about the future of farming in Australia and we are 100% committed to developing and creating quality machinery that assists you, the farmers, to achieve maximum value in your primary production business.