Coles announced in late July that it would provide $5 million in grants and interest-free loans from its Nurture Fund to help food producers to combat drought.
Grants and interest-free loans of up to $500,000 are available as part of the current round of funding but make sure you submit your application before 5pm next Friday, September 14.
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to be experiencing drought conditions currently to be eligible for funding because this round of funding is about helping farmers to protect against future droughts.
Of course you will know best what measures will help your business to combat drought but below are some examples of drought proofing or water saving initiatives which have previously received support from the Coles Nurture Fund.
- At Lismore in NSW, blueberry growers used an interest-free loan from the Nurture Fund to grow berries under tunnels, which are helping to save water by reducing evaporation and allowing water to be collected for storage via gutters connected to the tunnels.
- In semi-arid Kununurra in WA, banana growers used a grant to introduce the latest technologies to meet the challenges of growing fruit in the dry region.
- In the Ovens Valley in northern Victoria, a farming couple received a Nurture Fund grant to install a more efficient irrigation system so they could reduce their water use and grow grass-fed beef all year round.
- At Coolac in NSW, a beef farmer used a Nurture Fund grant to build facilities to manufacture fodder indoors, making him less dependent on grass and water.
- In central Queensland, a farming family used a Nurture Fund grant to plant a resilient tree legume, leucaena, so they can use it as cattle feed, and in turn be better prepared for drought conditions.
The Nurture Fund is open to all food producers who have a turnover that is less than $25 million per annum and employ no more than 50 full time employees (excluding casual seasonal labour).