27 November 2023

NSW creates $250 million fund for low-interest loans to farmers as dry season looms

| Andrew McLaughlin
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A cow and windmill in outback Australia

Low-interest loans are now available to NSW primary producers for drought preparation or response. Photo: File.

The New South Wales Government has established a $250 million fund to offer low-interest loans to primary producers for drought preparation or response activities.

The Drought Ready and Resilient Fund (DRRF) will provide up to $250,000 to eligible primary producers to support a broad range of operational products, activities and services in the event of drought.

These activities include the purchasing of fodder or the transport of livestock to protect their welfare, not just capital investments. Other eligible activities include buying feeding equipment, veterinary and professional nutrition and welfare advice, fencing for rotational grazing, exclusion and cluster fencing, construction of containment feeding pens, stock shade structures and planting of trees.

The loans can be paid off over five or 10 years and will save producers an average of $40,000 over that period compared with more conventional loans of similar amounts.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said NSW did not thrive unless its regions and agricultural industries thrived.

“This is a significant investment that demonstrates our commitment to the resilience of farmers across our state, particularly as they enter drier and warmer weather conditions,” he said.

“We know being disaster prepared is more important than ever before. This is a commonsense initiative that allows farmers to get ahead of the dry season and protect their livelihoods.”

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Minister for Agriculture Tara Moriarty added: “The NSW Government is committed to supporting our agriculture sector and this is an important investment in the resilience of this vital industry throughout the emerging dry conditions.

“The aim of this government initiative is to give farmers access to operational funding so they can get assistance to work through a challenging period.

“This is a commonsense 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.”

The DRRF has been established in conjunction with the refocusing of the $120m Farm Innovation Fund – which has been renamed the Drought Infrastructure Fund – and which offers loans of up to $1m at low interest rates.

Applications are open now for the Drought Infrastructure Fund and from 1 December for the DRRF through the Rural Assistance Authority website.

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