By Growcom CEO David Thomson

Last week Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced the investment framework for the much lauded and anticipated Future Drought Fund.

The Fund is a principal investment by the Australian Government growing to $5 billion, with the annual returns of $100 million to be spent on projects to improve our resilience to drought.

The investment framework focusses the funds on improving business planning, better decision-making tools, adoption of research and technologies, and building the drought resilience of natural resources such as soil and vegetation in agricultural landscapes.

The framework also provides for improved regional planning, strengthening networks, and developing local leadership capabilities.

Growcom has welcomed this critical investment, not just in making our farm businesses more drought proof but also more profitable in between dry times.

Because ultimately resilience is a product of profitability. When hard times arrive it’s those growers on smaller margins that are first to hit a wall. And in our industry, it’s not necessarily the case that only small growers have small margins. This is a problem shared by all.

For Growcom, our core objective is growing the profit margins in our industry. That’s why we’ve also welcomed the most recent round of Regional Economic Development (RED) Grants from the Queensland Government.

These grants fund projects which provide opportunities to generate economic and employment opportunities in agriculture, and have already helped a number of Queensland growers add more value to their produce and boost their profit margins.

Grants are up to a maximum of $250,000 with a 50 per cent cash contribution requirement from applicants.

The current round of RED Grants close this Friday 10 July. We strongly encourage growers to either consider applying, or even simply start thinking about what they’d do with that sort of support.

It’s the thought that counts.

The Oz Lotto jackpot this week is $50 million, and Powerball is $80 million. Much of the value in buying a ticket is not so much the chance of winning, but in giving yourself permission to think of the kind of future you could bring about if you won. And then realising there’s much you can do without the money.

Both Federal and State governments are investing in our resilience and profitability. These are the tickets we need. We’ve got to bring the positive thinking and big ideas, which is something we know are not in short supply in horticulture.

Further detail on the Future Drought Fund can be found at: www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/future-drought-fund, and RED Grants at: www.qrida.qld.gov.au/current-programs/redgrants