APPLICATIONS are open for the federal government’s new Managing Farm Risk Program.
The $20 million initiative was unveiled in the $4 billion Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and provides rebates of up to $2500 to help cover the cost of taking on a new agricultural insurance policy, like multi-peril crop insurance.
Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce said the program was now open for applications and involved a straightforward process that can be completed online.
“Farm businesses should consider applying for our rebate if they are interested in taking on a new insurance product to protect their incomes from droughts, floods, hail and other events beyond their control,” he said.
“The Managing Farm Risk Program provides eligible farm businesses with one-off rebates for 50 per cent of the costs, up to a maximum of $2500, of obtaining independent and professional advice to apply for a new insurance policy.
“Farmers have been saying for years they have wanted access to multi-peril crop insurance products and the Coalition government is proud to be delivering an environment which encourages private insurers to invest in and make these products available.
“This grant is a means of helping farmers get all the facts together to make a considered decision around whether it is worth insuring their farm from perils such as drought, frost, hail and fire.”
Mr Joyce said farmers knew better than most that the Australian climate was as variable and as unpredictable as they came.
“In the past few months alone we’ve seen farmers hit by floods in Western Australia, fires in NSW, hail in SA and north western Victoria, while drought continues to impact farmers across large parts of Queensland,” Minister Joyce said.
“Recent storm outbreaks across NSW and Queensland are a reminder of the risks farmers face, with Dubbo experiencing flash flooding after 69mm of rainfall in five hours on Monday, their heaviest March rain in 17 years.”
Minister Joyce said he was encouraging all farmers across the country to carefully consider their production risks and investigate their insurance options.
“While insurance may not be the silver bullet solution for all farm businesses, it has great potential to assist many farmers in safeguarding their business, providing a much needed sense of financial security,” he said.
“Time is running out for this cycle, with applications for the majority of existing commercial multi-peril insurance products closing by late April each year due to the growing season.”
Jim Maitland, Clare, SA.
“While I didn’t make a claim through the policy, it allowed us to plant a higher percentage of pulse crops which fell outside our regular drought strategy with the inability to capture biomass as hay instead of grain. It enabled us to grab the bull by the horns and take more risks on higher value crops than traditional cereals, knowing the policy was there and we wouldn’t lose millions in the event we get wiped out by a catastrophic drought.”
John Simpson, Wudinna SA.
“The rebate process was quite simple, as it should be. We accessed the grant and took insurance last year. We didn’t make a claim, as we had a better than average season. It was about 20 per cent less than the best season, which was last year. But that’s the nature of insurance, you’re protecting yourself from a bad year. Multi-peril insurance is dear, but so are most income protection products. It meant we didn’t need to take crop insurance last year, as we were advised we should only take it in combination with multi-peril in a good year.”
Interested farmers can go to www.agriculture.gov.au/mfrp to apply for the program.