The NSW government has created a $250million Drought Ready and Resilient Fund to support the readiness and resilience of NSW's agriculture industry.
The fund will allow eligible primary producers to apply for low interest loans of up to $250,000 to fund a broad range of operational products, activities and services to prepare and respond to the impacts of drought.
NSW Premier Chris Minns said NSW does not thrive unless its regions and agricultural industries thrive.
Research by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority showed that the loans, which can be paid off over five or ten years, are estimated to save farmers on average $40,000 over a five-year loan, when compared to other similar loans.
Importantly, for the first time the fund will allow farmers to access loans for other core activities like the purchasing of fodder and transport of livestock to protect their welfare, not just capital investments.
It ensures the government is working with the sector to provide an innovative and proactive response as parts of NSW enter drought conditions.
NSW Minister for Agriculture Tara Moriarty said the aim of the fund is to give farmers access to operational funding so they can get assistance to work through a challenging period.
"This is a common-sense approach to ensuring farmers and livestock producers across NSW have the resources they need in the event of drought.
"We will continue to monitor the drought indicator closely and ensure that farmers receive the support they need."
For those in regions not yet experiencing drier conditions, the fund also incentivises participation in the vital planning and preparedness phase of drought management and climate variability mitigation, improving response and recovery outcomes for farming businesses.
Unlike previous funds that are designed to support capital investment, the fund can be used for essential items like:
The Labor government is committed to supporting rural and regional Australia in times of drought.
The fund comes in conjunction with the refocusing of the $120million Farm Innovation Fund to the Drought Infrastructure Fund, offering loans of up to $1million at a low interest rate of 2.5 percent.
The Drought Infrastructure Fund is designed to promote capital investment in on-farm infrastructure that assists farmers in transitioning their farms to become more resilient, productive and sustainable.
By establishing these two types of funds the NSW government is creating options and flexibility for farmers, depending on their needs and circumstances, and ensuring the viability of agricultural operations - livestock, cropping or horticulture - across NSW.
Applications are welcome now for the Drought Infrastructure Fund.
Applications for the Drought Ready and Resilient Fund open from December 1, 2023.
Information at raa.nsw.gov.au
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