Woolworths seeks next wave of dairy farming innovators with $100,000 grants

Monday, December 13, 2021: Woolworths is calling on Australian dairy farmers to share their on-farm improvement plans, with grants of up to $100,000 available under the latest round of the Woolworths Dairy Innovation Fund.

The second round of the $5 million Woolworths Dairy Innovation Fund is now open and is seeking grant applications from farmers to support on-farm projects that deliver innovation, efficiency and seasonal resilience.

In June, the fund’s inaugural round awarded more than $2 million in grants to 24 farmers across the country for projects such as solar-powered desalination, milk sensor technology, forage infrastructure, improvements sustainability, enhanced bushfire protection, herd monitoring technology and dairy automation. .

Australian dairy farmers in the Woolworths supply chain, including those supplying supplier brands, can apply to the fund by February 20, 2022.

Will Herron, Head of Dairy Commodities at Woolworths, said: “We are calling on Australian dairy farmers to come up with innovative plans that we can help bring to life through the Dairy Innovation Fund.

“As conditions have improved in recent seasons, forward-looking farmers are investing in technology and infrastructure to build resilient businesses that can thrive in the face of seasonal challenges in years to come.

“We want to partner with farmers to help create the farms of the future that will continue to provide quality dairy products to Australians for generations to come.

“We have already seen the strength of Australian dairy farm ambition in the fund’s first round and look forward to supporting another round of innovative and impactful projects in this round.”

Victorian farmer Lisa Dwyer received $100,000 from the first round of the Woolworths Dairy Innovation Fund earlier this year to deploy herd monitoring collars on more than 400 head of cows at Purnim Farm which she runs with her husband, Eddie. The grant will also fund a new automatic draw system on the couple’s property.

The Dwyers supply Fonterra and employ a team of six people aged between 20 and 70. Lisa says that in the six months since the introduction of the new technology, she has already seen the benefits of early disease and heat detection, which has improved animal welfare and husbandry. , boosted production and reduced costs.

“In my 18 years as a dairy farmer, this is the biggest game-changer we’ve encountered and it helps us foster a progressive and rewarding workplace for our team,” said Lisa Dwyer.

“We have seen firsthand the benefits that technology can bring to our business, our people and, most importantly, our animals, and it would not have been possible without the Woolworths Dairy Innovation Fund. »

Lisa is a strong advocate for technological innovation on Australian dairy farms and encourages farmers to consider the strategic investments they could make with the help of a grant from Woolworths.

Lisa added: “While our industry’s past has been largely driven by commodity exports, our future will be driven by a transition to high value agricultural production – and this can only be achieved through a intelligent and compelling technological innovation.”

United Dairyfarmers of Victoria Chairman Paul Mumford said: “The Woolworths Dairy Innovation Fund enables farmers to invest in substantial projects that will help their farming businesses be more profitable and sustainable in the future.

“These types of investments will not only improve how businesses operate today, but will play a role in retaining and attracting farmers to the industry through greater on-farm efficiency to help balance family life. modern.”

The Dairy Innovation Fund was launched in November 2020 to invest a total of $5 million in around 60 companies over three years. The fund was designed in consultation with leading industry groups Australian Dairy Farmers, Dairy Australia, the National Federation of Farmers, Premium Milk Ltd and the NSW Farmers’ Association Dairy Committee.

To find out more about the fund and how to apply, visit woolworths.com.au/dairyinnovationfund. Submissions for the current grant cycle will close on February 20, 2022.

In addition to the Dairy Innovation Fund, Woolworths also provides grants to farmers through its Organic Growth Fund, which has awarded more than $4 million in grants and interest-free loans to organic fruit and vegetable growers for investments in place to increase the availability of organic products. produce.

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For more information, contact Woolworths Media: 02 8885 1033 or [email protected]

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