South-west Victorians forging their careers in the dairy industry can now tap into more than $70,000 every year in grants and scholarships through the DemoDAIRY Foundation.
The funds remain following the winding up for the DemoDAIRY Cooperative, which included the liquidation of assets at Terang and shareholder contribution refunds.
All of the residual funds from the former co-op are now held within the DemoDAIRY Foundation - a newly registered charity set up to promote local dairy resources, to fund tertiary training in dairy-related sciences and for grants to individual applicants.
DemoDAIRY Foundation secretary Ian Teese said it was the vision of the volunteer foundation board members that the $840,000 would fund 10-15 years of scholarships and grants to local dairy farmers and service providers wanting to improve their dairy business management skills and knowledge.
"The plan is to see lots of great applications come flooding in and to allocate $70,000 to $80,000 each year for the betterment of the dairy industry in south-west Victoria," he said.
"But we also want applicants to think big, so although we have four key scholarships and grants categories, we are also keen to see proposals that seek to combat emerging issues in the industry or maximise opportunities on a larger scale.
"Ultimately, if applicants have a great innovative idea that can contribute to a stronger industry in south-west Victoria, then I'd love to talk to them and see how we might help."
Existing grants include:
1. Business management skill development: Scholarships of $2500 to $5000 per year to agreed courses.
2. Dairy business management projects: Grants of $1000 to $2000 to create awareness in appropriate education organisations and assess proposed projects.
3. Innovation grants: Up to $5000: Offered through the contracted service providers (currently Agriculture Victoria, WestVic Dairy and some dairy companies) to the groups.
4. Capacity development grants: Grants of $2000 to $5000 to screened candidates.
5. Emerging issues grants: Short proposals developed with relevant industry stakeholders
and reviewed by the DemoDAIRY Foundation board.
Mr Teese said the foundation's new website provided more information on the scholarship and grants program. He said application forms could be completed online or printed out from the website for offline submission.
"We're proud to have already provided a $5000 scholarship to Caleb Templeton who is completing his Bachelor of Commerce Majoring in Agribusiness at Deakin University in Warrnambool," he said.
"It's great to be approving grants now and putting these funds to good use to build skills, expertise and livelihoods in the dairy industry right here in south-west Victoria.
"The DemoDAIRY Foundation is working with lots of partners including WestVic Dairy, Deakin University, South West TAFE, Rural Industries Skill Training (RIST), Longerenong College, Simpson Lions Club and others - it's an exciting time."
Visit www.demodairy.com.au for more information.
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