Supermarket group Woolworths has called for applications for its new Dairy Innovation Fund, offering $5 million to dairy farmers so they can add farm improvements for the next three years.
Farmers will be able to upgrade machinery and improve or develop sustainability programs.
The farmers who contribute milk to Woolies’ dairy supply chain are allowed to apply for grants of up to $100,000 per farm. The new funding will help support the Australian Dairy Plan that aims to reduce production cost and increase profit. Dairy Australia’s latest research shows 80 per cent of dairy farmers will invest in their businesses in the next two years.
“Our Dairy Innovation Fund will help Australian farmers invest in projects that increase farming efficiency and modernise their operations with new technology. Dairy farmers have faced tough conditions in recent years through droughts and bushfire. The Dairy Innovation Fund will help farmers invest for the future, while also increasing resilience to withstand these types of challenges,” Woolworths director of buying, Paul Harker said.
“This fund will assist in turning long-planned farm improvements into a reality, so we’re inviting dairy farmers to tell us how they would use up to $100,000 to improve their operations. We look forward to supporting projects which will make a meaningful difference to Australian dairies and contribute to the long-term prosperity of the sector.”
Woolies sought consultation from peak industry bodies including the Australian Dairy Farmers, Dairy Australia, National Farmers’ Federation, Premium Milk and the NSW Farmers’ Association Dairy Committee.
“This is a welcome initiative by Woolworths and acknowledges the need for investment in on-farm efficiencies to boost the profitability and long-term sustainability of dairy farms, including those in NSW recovering from the impacts drought and bushfires, on top of low farm gate returns in recent years,” NSW Dairy Committee chairman Colin Thompson said.
The Dairy Innovation Fund aims to help 60 businesses over the next three years. Applications will close on February 16 and can be lodged via a form on the supermarket group’s website.