WHILE drought is most closely associated with livestock production, a program has been established to help those in horticulture weather dry times.
Growcom has launched the Farm Business Resilience Program (FBRP) which will support farmers to prepare for, manage and recover from drought.
The program, to be rolled out across Queensland, is supported and funded by the Federal Department of Agriculture Water and Environment, through the Future Drought Fund and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, with a $2.25 million investment in the program.
Growcom chief executive officer Stephen Barnard said considering more than 120 different fruit, vegetable and nut crops were grown across Queensland, developing tools to combat the ill-effects of drought in a changing climate needed to be addressed now.
"Farmers know best how to grow food that Australians enjoy year-round and they do a top-notch job," Mr Barnard said.
"We are excited to get the ball rolling and will utilise our Best Management Practice program, Hort360, to assist growers to identify gaps in their management systems.
- $34m Drought Resilience Innovation Grants up for grabs for drought resilience ideas
- R&D funding announced to support bushfire affected beekeepers
- Work on protecting seeds from drought and heat
"We will engage growers to overcome limitations brought on by drought and build capacity through the Farm Business Resilience Program.
"This process will enable businesses to target issues and major risks and enhance the business's ability to plan and grow in the face of drought - including from production, financial and personal perspectives.
"Growcom stands firmly on its mission to support fresh produce growers to be sustainable and profitable and this program will provide a process to assist growers through thick and thin."
Queensland agriculture minister Mark Furner said the program would help farm businesses to develop Farm Business Resilience Plans, a key step in helping producers manage their climate and other risks.
"Producers can attend a Farm Business Resilience Program workshop or training run by industry organisations and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to help develop a plan, they can write a plan themselves, or engage professional assistance," Mr Furner said.
"If they engage professional assistance, producers can apply for a Farm Management Grant to receive a 50 per cent rebate of up to $2500 of the cost."
Growcom will engage with fresh produce growers on key topics such as business, people, climate and environment through this program.
The Farm Business Resilience Program will be open to all primary producers - a drought declaration isn't required to access planning.
Sign up here to Good Fruit and Vegetables weekly newsletter for all the latest horticulture news each Thursday...