• Pilot to reward farmers for improving their native vegetation is open
  • Applications opened September 29 and close October 27
  • Provides farmers with an opportunity to diversify their income
  • Six regions participating in the pilot with intent to roll out to other regions

Farmers in Victoria’s North-Central region can now apply for the Federal Government’s $22.3 million Enhancing Remnant Vegetation Pilot.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud, Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, and Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie said the pilot was a key component of the Government’s $66.1 million Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Package that was designed to help farmers get paid for improving biodiversity on-farm.

Mr Littleproud said the Enhancing Remnant Vegetation Pilot, alongside the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot, would trial a market-based system that would see farmers paid for their biodiversity management.

“We’re putting a value on farm native vegetation. It’s good for the environment, and farmers can make a buck out of it,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Over time, the aim is to roll these pilots out to more farmers, making them widely available and fuelled by private sector investment.

“This pilot aims to reward farmers who put up projects to protect, manage and improve remnant native vegetation.

“What that looks like could vary from farm to farm – it may be as simple as fencing off parts of the property that are already home to native vegetation, or it might involve ongoing pest and weed management.”

Mr Drum said the pilot was an opportunity for farmers in his electorate of Nicholls to build drought resilience by diversifying their on-farm income.

“Farmers are the stewards of the land, and their role in environmental stewardship has been overlooked for far too long,” Mr Drum said.

“The North-Central region, which takes in the north-western part of Nicholls, covers an area of remarkably diverse and flexible agricultural industries, as we contain both dryland and irrigated country.”

Senator McKenzie said the Nationals in government want to recognise farmers who take steps to improve environmental outcomes on their land, while also encouraging the private sector to invest in this innovative scheme.

“We want to reward our local farmers for delivering positive outcomes for our community while also improving the financial sustainability and drought resilience of their own farm business,” Senator McKenzie said.

“This is all about trialling how farmers could be paid for actions to protect and enhance their remnant native vegetation.”

Interested farmers can click here to learn more or apply to take part in the pilot.

Key facts:

  • The Agriculture Stewardship Package now totals $66.1 million, with $32.1 million provided in 2021, and $34 million provided in 2019.
  • Six natural resource management (NRM) regions across Australia will be able to participate in the pilot: Burnett-Mary (QLD), Central West (NSW), North Central (VIC), North Tasmania (TAS), Eyre Peninsula (SA) and South-west (WA).
  • The pilot is being trialled with on-ground support and advice from the regional NRM organisations.
  • As part of the pilot, the Australian National University has created the processes and protocols that measure and reward farmers for undertaking the projects, delivering a system that will be respected by international markets.
  • Regions have been selected, amongst other criteria, to test the program across a range of jurisdictions, farming systems, and vegetation types, and to complement and compare the trial with the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot.
  • The trials are designed to test the underpinning systems and frameworks of the approach to ensure credibility and test the market willingness to buy.

ENDS

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