The Australian government is giving dairy cow farmers up to $20,000 (US$14,000) as part of the government’s Energy Efficient Communities Program that will enable them to upgrade to more energy-efficient equipment and help to reduce their power bills.
The grant can be used for replacing equipment, upgrading parts, and seeking better energy use through investing in monitoring and auditing systems. This may include purchasing new solar hot water heaters or installing remote equipment to monitor water storage and pasture conditions.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said dairy farming businesses are a huge asset to regional economies.
“These grants will provide financial support at a time when so many in the dairy industry are struggling. Supporting the long-term sustainability of our dairy farmers is critical to the sustainability of regional Australia and our food security,” he said.
Applications are open at business.gov.au and will close on Aug. 17.
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said in a statement on June 22 that the grant will help dairy farmers battling Australia’s recent crises.
“Farmers have long been at the forefront of innovation to reduce their cost of doing business and their emissions output. But energy costs remain high for many in our dairy sector, especially where farmers are doing it tough on the back of bushfires and COVID19,” Taylor said.
The largest operating expenses in the dairy industry is milk cooling, harvesting, and hot water production, costing dairy farmers as high as $12,800 (US$8,900) per 100 cows each year.
“Supporting the long-term sustainability of our dairy farmers is critical to the sustainability of regional Australia and our food security,” Littleproud said in the statement.
While there was growth during the outset of the pandemic, the Australian dairy market looks bleak for the rest of the year due to the reduced movement of people, food service industries being shut down, and the falling incomes of consumers, according to RaboResearch’s global dairy outlook.
“The outlook is a 2.5 percent decline in 2020 in dairy consumption and remaining in negative territory through much of 2020,” Rabobank senior dairy analyst Michael Harvey said.