The battle against the next drought has begun with the NSW Nationals in the state government announcing a combined $64 million in the 2021-22 NSW Budget over four years for the ‘Future Ready Regions’ strategy that will help farmers and regional communities grow, thrive and plan for the future.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro and NSW Nationals Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders made the announcement at Boxleigh Park Merinos in Wellington on Thursday.
“It feels like just yesterday the entire state was in drought with towns running out of water, crops failing to reach harvest and farmers making heartbreaking decisions between feeding livestock or feeding their families,” Mr Barilaro said.
“These are the lessons we cannot afford to forget and will be enshrined in the Future Ready Regions strategy to make sure our communities are ready when the next drought hits.
“The initiatives in this new strategy, like increasing on-farm ag tech and vastly improving weather and climate data, will build more resilient regional communities, increase investment in water security and enable farmers to make more informed business decisions.”
Mr Saunders said he was looking forward to the new strategy building on the NSW Nationals in the state government’s existing support, including the $1 billion Farm Innovation Fund.
“Primary producers I talk to are definitely keen to have planning and support in place for future dry times,” he said.
“The ability to utilise technology and diversify income into the future is also important, and I’m really pleased we’ve developed this new package.”
New initiatives in the Future Ready Regions strategy include:
- $48 million to expand the Farms of the Future program to accelerate the adoption of ‘ag-tech’ enabled production methods which make farms more efficient, profitable and resilient.
- $6 million to fast-track investigations into potential groundwater supplies in Western NSW.
- $6 million to deliver?a new?‘Farm Business Resilience Planning’?pilot.
- $4 million to upgrade the Enhanced Drought Information System (EDIS) to provide farms with world-leading weather and climate data so they can make better business decisions.
- Support farm businesses and other landholders to diversify their income through carbon farming and biodiversity offset programs.
- Streamline planning requirements to make it easier for primary producers to diversify into agritourism and carry out agricultural programs.
For more information visit: nsw.gov.au/FutureReadyRegions