In an industry where every cent counts there are a number of funding opportunities available to farmers through State and Federal government grants that should be taken advantage of.
A sign of the State Government’s long-term commitment to our primary industries, is the Fresh Start Loan offered by the Queensland Government’s Rural Industry Development Authority. Launched by the government almost two years ago, the loan can provide finance of up to $2 million to help young farmers to branch out on their own or to support leasing or share farming arrangement.
QDO is hosting its first workshop for dairy farmers on a range of topics including farm leasing, share-farming and farm diversification on Tuesday May 15 in Beaudesert and a second workshop on Tuesday June 12 in Marburg.
QDO has been engaging with a lot of members about succession planning and ways to diversify in recent months. It’s hard for a lot of families to find a solution that fits everyone. I think it’s timely we remind young dairy farmers that there are means available to them to set up on their own. The Queensland dairy industry needs the next generation of farmers to see a way forward that is financially viable.
On the Office of Small Business mentor panel that QDO met with last week were advisers specialising in providing advice and guidance with negotiating the paperwork and assessing the viability of loan and grant applications.
Scott Dixon, of Scott Dixon & Associates, said for anyone who had never undertaken a grant or loan process, it may appear a daunting experience. Sorting out what information you need to have and whether you meet the application criteria is the first step and there are people at QRIDA who can help.
The loans have low interest rates fixed for up to five years which allows farmers time to adjust when starting up. They can also be used for:
Diversification into other on-farm enterprises.
Improving infrastructure such as fences, water storages, grain and feed storage and irrigation
Upgrading plant and equipment
Purchasing livestock in specific circumstances
Improving energy efficiency by uptake of current and renewable technologies
I would encourage all young dairy farmers to look into this loan or revisit it. Two years can make a big difference to circumstances. They may be surprised just how helpful the department is about assisting the future dairy farmers of Queensland.
For more information about the loan visit: http://www.qrida.qld.gov.au/current-programs/Productivity-Loans/first-start-loan/First-Start-Loan-Primary-producer or for information regarding eligibility criteria Freecall 1800 623 946.
By: Brian Tessman, QDO president
Source: North Queensland Register