09 February 2024

Federal Member for Corangamite Libby Coker MP has urged the region’s farmers to take advantage of the Albanese Government’s new $30 million On Farm Connectivity Program (OFCP).

Ms Coker said the grant was delivering significant productivity benefits for local primary producers with more than $6.2 million in rebates committed nationally and beginning to flow to help the farmers take advantage of agtech and connectivity solutions.

She said the program was extending data coverage further onto properties and allowing for greater connection and reliability of machinery and sensor technology by offering discounted technologies through approved suppliers.

“These technologies are assisting farmers to optimise soil quality and nutrient levels, monitor livestock, improve efficiency of water use and streamline farm logistics,” Ms Coker said.

“By helping farmers invest in new technologies, we’re powering productivity and embracing smarter, more sustainable farming practices.

“It’s great to see so many people applying and taking advantage of this great opportunity.

“I’d encourage anyone wanting to see how agtech might benefit their work to give the Regional Tech Hub a call.”

Victorian Farmer’s Federation Bellarine branch secretary Fiona Conroy said she was thrilled her request for an in-paddock livestock weighing system, for her beef and wool farm on the Bellarine Peninsula, was approved mid last month.

“We saw the grant as an opportunity to buy an Optiweigh unit which would allow us to get real time weights and weight gains on steers which would mean less yarding of animals and we could make better grazing and forward marketing decisions and improve production efficiency,” Ms Conroy said.

“I contacted the supplier who was listed on the grant information, and they submitted the application on our behalf. The process was easy, and the turn-around time was a matter of weeks.

“I’m looking forward to getting the unit in the coming months and getting it out with some cattle and collecting the data.”

Since the program launch in late October, the Business Grants Hub has received more than 700 applications from equipment suppliers towards the $15 million in funding available under Round 1.

The rebate is available for a wide range of technologies such as external antennas, repeaters, boosters, sensors, automated tank systems and pump controllers, animal movement tags together with relevant installation and training costs.

To help primary producers explore eligible connectivity options and make informed investment decisions, the Government has engaged the Regional Tech Hub to provided free and independent advice.

The OFCP is part of the Albanese Government’s $1.1 billion Better Connectivity Plan which is improving mobile and broadband connectivity and resilience in communities across the country.

For more information on the OFCP, visit: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/ofcp

Primary producers can contact the Regional Tech Hub on 1300 081 029 or at http://regionaltechhub.org.au/home/on-farm-connectivity-program