$50 million in grants available under Rural R&D for Profit Round 2

APPLICATIONS for grant funding are now open for Round 2 of the Coalition Government's Rural Research and Development (R&D) for Profit Programme.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack, said up to $50 million in funding was available under Round 2 of the programme to deliver R&D projects to boost profitability and productivity.

"The R&D for Profit Programme is a $100 million Coalition election commitment, with a further $100 million committed as part of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper to extend the programme out to 2020-2021.

"The programme encourages collaboration between industry, researchers and Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) on projects that will deliver real benefits on the farm," Minister Joyce said.

Mr McCormack said the focus is on developing and delivering cutting edge research and technologies in a way that is practical and accessible for primary producers.

"Round 1 of the programme saw more than $26 million in grants approved that will deliver tangible benefits at the farmgate, including better control methods for major weeds that threaten profitability, and resources to support farmers identify and capitalise on opportunities in export markets.

"In Riverina, I would strongly encourage the Charles Sturt University to consider applying for research projects that could deliver benefits to local grain or rice growers given these industries' importance to our region," Mr McCormack said today.

Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area farmer John Bonetti said that R&D was vital to driving better farm profitability and setting up the industry to meet the challenges of the future.

Round 2 projects will be required to address one or more priorities in the following research, development or extension areas:
• advanced technology to enhance innovation of products, processes and practices across the supply chain
• biosecurity to improve understanding of pest and disease pathways
• soil, water and managing natural resources to manage soil health, improve water use efficiency, sustainably develop new production areas and improve resilience
• adoption of R&D focusing on flexible delivery of extension services that meet primary producers' needs.

All 15 Rural RDCs can apply for funding under the programme. To be eligible, RDCs must partner with one or more researchers, universities, research agencies, funding bodies, businesses, producer groups, or not-for-profit organisations, and provide a contribution (cash or cash and in-kind) at least equal to the requested Commonwealth grant funding.

Applications for Rural R&D for Profit Round 2 must be received by the Department of Agriculture by 5.00pm (AEST) on Tuesday 1 December 2015. For more information, visit agriculture.gov.au/rd4profit

Cristy Houghton