News

Grants to reduce energy use on dairy farms

By Jamie Salter

Dairy farmers will receive new Federal Government grants to upgrade their farming equipment in order to reduce energy consumption.

Dairy Connect chief executive officer Shaughn Morgan praised the initiative and encouraged dairy farmers to make use of the program.

“Dairy farmers are able to receive grants of up to $20 000 to upgrade equipment and reduce energy consumption,” Mr Morgan said.

Farmers Group committee president Graham Forbes said the funding would be beneficial to farmers wanting to upgrade equipment.

“The grants will also allow producers to invest in monitoring systems to better manage energy use, to run energy audits and to investigate other opportunities for energy efficient activities,” Mr Forbes said.

Australian Dairy Farmers president Terry Richardson said the announcement would relieve pressure on dairy farmers who were facing high production costs.

“These grants will not only mitigate the excessive cost of energy, but also contribute to the dairy industry’s target to reduce emissions by 30 per cent by 2030,” Mr Richardson said.

Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum said dairy farming businesses were an important asset to regional economies.

“Supporting the long-term sustainability of our dairy farmers is critical to the sustainability of regional Australia,” Mr Drum said.

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the grants would provide financial support at a time when so many in the dairy industry were struggling.

“Supporting the long-term sustainability of our dairy farmers is critical to the sustainability of regional Australia and our food security,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Energy use in milk cooling, milk harvesting and hot water production is one of the highest overheads in the dairy industry, costing dairy farmers as high as $12 800 per 100 cows each year.”

The grants were announced on June 22, and will be available under the Federal Government's Energy Efficient Communities Program.

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the program focused on helping dairy farming businesses lower their power bills by becoming more energy efficient.

“Farmers have long been at the forefront of innovation to reduce their cost of doing business and their emissions output,” Mr Taylor said.

“But energy costs remain high for many in our dairy sector, especially where farmers are doing it tough on the back of bushfires and COVID-19.”

Applications will close on Monday, August 17.

The Energy Efficient Communities Program was announced as part of the government’s Climate Solutions Package in the 2019 Federal Budget, and $10 million has been made available for the dairy round.

Grant guidelines and application forms for the dairy round are available at business.gov.au, or by phoning 132 846.