Digging deep for soil management

8 December 2021
  • $13.8 million for over 200 soil extension activities helping farmers get the most out of their soils

The final round of the Australian Government’s Smart Farms Small Grants program has now been finalised, with $13.8 million funding 32 grants and over 200 individual activities to improve soil health and soil management.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud said the grants will help farmers and land managers change the way they look at their soil and improve how they manage it.

“Good soil management leads to increased agricultural productivity and profits” Minister Littleproud said.

“This funding round focuses on soil extension activities, which give farmers and land managers practical tools and information they need, including increasing uptake of soil testing and better soil data, which will allow them to make evidence-based decisions for future growing seasons.

The successful grants include activities such as engaging soil extension officers; conducting soil management workshops, seminars, roadshows, or field days; creating communications products, webinars or online materials; and/or establishing trials, demonstrations and monitoring sites.

“Soil extension activities will improve and increase soil sampling and testing. They will help farmers get the most out of the National Soils Monitoring and Incentives Pilot Program which will be a win for the farmer and a win for soil science,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Australia can lead the world in measuring soil carbon accurately and effectively and use carbon in the soil to enhance our reputation for the most sustainably produced food and fibre in the world.

“This is part of the $214.9 million National Soil Strategy, Australia’s first national policy on soil which sets out how we will manage our soil for the next 20 years and will support Aussie farmers and the sector in reaching its Ag2030 goal to grow agriculture to $100 billion by 2030.”

Fast Facts:

  • Under this round, multiple activities could be applied for in the one application. Grants are for between $100,000 to $250,000 per set of activities and will be delivered over two years. Applicants could apply for a maximum of $2 million per application if undertaking multiple activities. 
  • The Smart Farms program is a key agriculture portfolio initiative under phase two of the $1.1 billion National Landcare Program.
  • More than $54 million will be available under National Soil Monitoring and Incentives Pilot Program to encourage farmers and land managers to undertake more comprehensive soil testing in exchange for sharing their data with the program. This program will open in Q1 2022.
  • Information about the Australian Government’s investment in Landcare 
  • For more information about the National Soil Strategy