Applications are now open for Round 1 of the On Farm Connectivity Program (OFCP), a new grants program designed to increase the uptake of agtech amongst Australian primary producers.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton has welcomed news of this program, which is intended to boost productivity, growth and sustainability through connected technology in the agriculture sector.
“This new program is an opportunity for primary producers to take advantage of the latest technologies to improve their methods of farming,” Mr Coulton said.
“I’m pleased to see this investment into the ag sector, which is such a large contributor to the Parkes electorate and supplies food, fibre and other resources to the rest of the country.
“While the On Farm Connectivity Program is being funded through the Labor Government’s October Budget, this program came about as a result of the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review commissioned by the former Coalition Government.
“The former Coalition Government recognised that telecommunications services, and in particular mobile services, were failing many parts of regional Australia, and the OFCP was one of the recommendations made to respond to these challenges.”
The OFCP will provide $30 million over two years, with Round 1 contributing $15 million towards rebates of up to 50 per cent of the cost of eligible smart farming technology which can assist with monitoring livestock, improving water efficiency, optimising soil quality, and improving farm logistics and connectivity.
Following an expression of interest process earlier this year, selected equipment suppliers will be able to participate in the program, which will see them receive rebates between $3,000 and $30,000 for eligible equipment purchased by primary producers.
Eligible primary producers have until 30 June 2024 or until Round 1 funding is exhausted to access discounted smart farming technologies through one of the eligible equipment suppliers.
“This program has been in the pipeline for some time,” Mr Coulton said. “I’m glad to see it finally open it up so our local producers can begin to access discounted connective technologies.”
The Regional Tech Hub – delivered by the National Farmers’ Federation and funded by the Australian Government – has been engaged to provide free independent expert advice to primary producers who may need assistance in determining which connectivity solutions would deliver the necessary improvements to their business operations.
To contact the Regional Tech Hub call 1300 081 029 or visit its website: regionaltechhub.org.au
To find out more about the On Farm Connectivity Program visit: https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/media-communications-arts/better-connectivity-plan-regional-and-rural-australia/farm-connectivity-program
Media contact: Amy Towney | 0491 135 852 | email@example.com