Another $350 million has been poured into the NSW Government's Farm Innovation Fund.
The NSW Government says that so far the fund has helped more than 1700 farmers across the State drought-proof their properties, providing low-interest loans to fund capital works such as new cattle yards, solar power systems, silos or bore water systems.
The value of low interest loans available through the Fund is also being increased from $250,000 up to $1 million.
The additional funding brings the government's total amount of funding for drought relief to $1.5 billion.
Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen said it will be a welcome boost for farmers.
“The aim of this fund is to ease some of the financial pressure on local farmers when it comes to enduring these adverse conditions we’ve faced in Upper Hunter over the last few years.”
“We know our local farmers are among the best in the world, however, we also know that it’s crucial we continue to support them to continue to improve their businesses, even during these adverse conditions, and the Nationals in Government have not forgotten how important they are to our State’s economy,” Michael Johnsen said.
“During this extended period of dry weather, I have been travelling to drought-affected areas, listening to and understanding the needs of our farming communities, and continuing to lobby on their behalf."
“As promised previously, the Government will continue to consult our local farming communities, and to refine policy on an ongoing basis to meet our farmer’s needs," he said.
Other key changes to the NSW Government's drought relief program include:
- providing an additional $5 million for emergency water supplies to ensure towns have access to safe and reliable water;
- increasing the amount farmers can claim on Drought Transport Subsidies from $30,000 to $40,000; and
- providing an additional $2 million to connect people to support services through the Rural Resilience Program.
“We want farmers to approach this fund as a low interest resource they can draw on to make sure they are in a stronger position today to face whatever challenges are coming in the future," said Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro.
“Every dollar our farmers spend gets circulated through regional towns and cities making this billion dollars is an investment in our regional communities."
“The NSW Government will continue to back our farmers who make a living under some of the toughest conditions in the world, growing the food and fibre we all rely on.”
Image credit: Grant Broadcasters/Jessica Rouse