Grassroot producer groups now have access to grants of up to $20,000 aimed at boosting the uptake of on-farm technology.
The new producer technology uptake pilot program is being rolled out during the next 12 months by AgriFutures Australia, the trading name for Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).
AgriFutures Australia invests in research, leadership, innovation and learning to support industries that don't have their own research and development function as well as new and emerging industries.
Eligible groups can obtain grants of up to $20,000 to deliver a bespoke technology uptake program which will include a producer workshop, as well as other activities identified by the group, to introduce technology solutions and kick start technology adoption across their member base.
Grants are available to Australian farming, fisheries and forestry producer groups who know and understand the producer needs in their industries and can help them overcome barriers to adoption, including digital literacy, and a lack of understanding on the potential return on investments.
AgriFutures Australia senior manager for rural futures Jennifer Medway said the new program would give producers a practical pathway to evaluate the role and value of new technology in their farming operations.
"Working with producer groups who can tailor opportunities to best meet the needs of local producers makes perfect sense," she said.
"Eligible activities could be anything from trialling new technologies in the local environment, getting out on-farm or at sea to test new equipment, or seeking the knowledge of experts to assess the return on investment and demystify how to use particular technologies," Ms Medway said.
"Technology is increasingly part of the future of farm, fish and forestry businesses and we need to ensure those with an interest in technology can easily navigate the adoption journey."
As part the grant program, producer groups will automatically get access to a centrally-designed and facilitated workshop to deliver at the local level.
The workshops are tailored to the needs of each producer group and designed to deliver practical information, decision-making tools and resources.
Ms Medway said producers would walk away from the workshops with a personalised farm technology plan, including relevant solutions to their farming system, and, importantly, steps to implementation.
"Few producers identify themselves as 'technology adopters' yet they may be using GPS-guided tractors, smart phones to engage in livestock markets or sensors and other tools to track and measure paddock performance and own sophisticated farm-management software."
"Tech solutions can optimise the use of inputs, speed up decision making, create labour savings and improve market access, there are big benefits to be gained for farm businesses."
To be eligible for the AgriFutures Australia grants, groups must:
- Be based in Australia
- Be a producer group representing producer members (farmers, fishers and/ or foresters)
- Have a registered ABN
- Have a group with at least 10 producers committed to attending a training workshop
- Have experience in managing grants, including financial and reporting systems
- Be able to demonstrate that participation in the program will genuinely benefit producers in your group.
To find out more about this program, including application guidelines, visit: https://www.agrifutures.com.au/national-rural-issues/producer-technology-uptake-program/
The story New $20,000 grants to help uptake of new technology in agriculture first appeared on Farm Online.