The returned Morrison Government will provide $368,000 to help develop a new strategy for local farmers to better cope with drought and lower rainfall totals.
Announcing the funding commitment for Finley’s Research and Development facility last week, Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley — who was returned at the federal election on Saturday — said the initiative will allow Southern Growers to better understand how they can diversify farming systems to recover from the current drought, and adapt to lower rainfall and irrigation water supplies.
‘‘I am delighted with this announcement which demonstrates the Morrison Government’s commitment to Farrer and more specifically the Berrigan Shire,’’ she said.
‘‘The Finley area has been one of the hardest hit by the drought, and I am standing with the community every step of the way as we work through variable and difficult conditions.
‘‘This project enables a future-focused strategy which acknowledges the realities of irrigated agriculture, and is only possible because of the Morrison Government’s plan for a stronger economy.’’
Southern Growers chair Geoff McLeod said he believed the funding was in response to a detailed proposal the group presented to Ms Ley before the election.
‘‘This funding will enable us to complete the development of the Finley Irrigated Research and Extension and to initiate activities to improve the profitability of our farming systems,’’ he said.
‘‘This funding will be critical to helping us establish the capacity to help our growers understand how to improve crop and pasture management.’’
Mr McLeod said Southern Growers executive officer Stephanie Chappell has written a number of funding proposals over the past 12 months related to irrigated agriculture, for which outcomes should be heard shortly.
He said the group was also working with government on extension activities that help growers improve water use efficiency and profitability.