The 2017 budget announcement of a billion-dollar investment, keeping Landcare funded at current levels out to 2023, was welcomed by the volunteer groups which have driven the network since its creation.
Farmers have been integral to the program since it was created by the National Farmers Federation and Australian Conservation Foundation in 1989.
The three elements to the Smart Farms Program are:
- Smart Farming Partnerships ($60 million over six years): Large multi-year grants for projects, with organisations working in partnership to develop, trial and implement new and innovative practices and tools that support uptake of sustainable agriculture practices across our agricultural, fishing, aquaculture and farm forestry industries.
- Smart Farms Small Grants ($50 million over six years): Small grants program (grants between $5,000 and $100,000) to develop and extend new tools and technologies that help farmers, fishers, foresters and regional communities adopt best practice land management.
- Building Landcare Community and Capacity ($24 million over six years): will support the sharing of knowledge and achievements and community leadership in adopting sustainable agricultural practices.The Government said the agriculture component of the new Landcare program is still being finalised, and will be announced in coming weeks.
Further details on the Smart Farms Program will be available on www.nrm.gov.au
(From ABC Rural - 27 September 2017)