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Future Drought Fund: Long-term Trials of Drought Resilient Farming Practices Program

ClosedGrant Closed: 15th of March 2023 - 9:00 pm Value: Up to $8 Million Run By: Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Further Information: https://www.grants.gov.au/Go/Show?GoUuid=537f5950-88b5-478b-9945-07a073bec9cc

The program will fund projects that contribute to improved drought resilience through investigations that explore innovative approaches to farm productivity and natural capital. The results of a long- term trial are likely to be valuable to guide and promote wider adoption of practices, systems, and approaches across farming sectors.

Projects will test, refine, and demonstrate the effectiveness (or otherwise) of farming practices in a robust scientific manner, in order to underpin and drive widespread adoption by providing farmers with the confidence and information they need to try the practices themselves.

Applications are being sought from collaborative, multi-disciplinary and multi-institution consortia, including farmers, to ensure the trial is relevant to farmers. Co-design and continued farmer involvement during the project is required. The consortium must nominate a lead organisation who will be solely accountable to the department for the delivery of the activities. Successful grantees must undertake on-ground activities during the period 2023 to 2028.

While “business as usual” practices are not eligible for funding, farmer-led proposals will be considered where there is sufficient evidence to support a case for their potential impact on drought resilience. Proposals from public or private sector research and development (R&D) organisations are also considered in scope for the program, in cases where their wider adoption would be supported by long-term trials.

Trials will include at least one location where activities can be assessed in scientifically and statistically valid ways. Trials making use of a network of sites may also be appropriate. Trials may use historical data (data mining), advances in sensing and application of data analytics to explore climate risk and potential for increased drought resilience. Trials could involve combinations of experimental plots, paddocks, farms and consider technologies for up-scaling regionally.

This grant opportunity is focused on grain cropping and livestock grazing, as these 2 agricultural sectors account for around 60% of all Australian farming businesses. Grains and meat/live animals are the largest contributors to agricultural exports, at around 72% of all exports. In addition, ABARES (2021) climate change research finds hotter and drier conditions since 2000 have reduced the profitability of broadacre farming by 22%, relative to estimated output under pre-2000 climate and seasonal conditions. Cropping farms are particularly affected, with profit down 35%.

Last Updated: 21st of January 2023
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