Australian Government investment in Landcare

The final round of Smart Farms Small Grants is now open. Grants are available for between $100,000 to $250,000 per activity and are available to fund projects that help improve the protection, resilience and productive capacity of our soils. Applicants may apply for a maximum of $2 million per application. To apply for Smart Farms Small Grants: Soil Extension Activities, visit Community Grants Hub.

We recognise and support the important role that community, farming and industry organisations play as part of the Landcare movement.

This involvement builds community capacity to sustainably manage natural resources including reducing adverse impacts and improving the condition of:

  • soils
  • water
  • vegetation
  • on-farm biodiversity

Good condition of natural resources underpins the productivity and profitability of the agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries. It also delivers wider community and environmental benefits.

The second phase of the National Landcare Program (NLP) provides financial support for Landcare activities until June 2023. NLP is being delivered by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE).

The agriculture only components of NLP are detailed below.

Smart Farms

The Australian Government has allocated $136 million to the Smart Farms program (2017-18 to 2022-23). The funding supports the development and uptake of best practice, tools and technologies for:

  • farmers and land managers
  • fishers
  • foresters
  • regional communities.

This will help improve the protection, resilience and productive capacity of our soils, water and vegetation which underpin successful primary industries and regional communities.

Smart Farms will focus on improving land management practices and biodiversity. It will also support agricultural systems to adapt to significant changes in climate, weather and markets.

The program is made up of the following three elements:

Smart Farming Partnerships

Smart Farming Partnerships ($57.5 million over 6 years) offered grants ranging between $250,000 and $4 million (GST exclusive). These larger, innovative projects are being delivered through effective partnerships between experienced and skilled organisations and individuals and were offered over two rounds. No further rounds are anticipated at this time. Smart Farming Partnerships:

  • develop, trial and implement new and innovative tools that lead to practice change and more sustainable, productive and profitable agricultural industries and systems
  • protect Australia’s biodiversity
  • protect and improve the condition of natural resources
  • assist Australia to meet its obligations under relevant international treaties.

Round 2

Applications for the second and final round of Smart Farming Partnerships closed on 17 May 2019. Round 2 funded 11 projects valued at up to $30.134 million (GST exclusive) and will be completed by April 2023. Further details on round 2 can be found in the guidelines which are accessible through the Community Grants website.

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Smart Farming Partnerships Round 2 list of successful applicants PDF PDF Icon 7 233 KB
Smart Farming Partnerships Round 2 list of successful applicants DOCX Word Icon 7 84 KB

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Round 1

Applications for round 1 closed 21 December 2017. This round funded 15 projects to a value of up to $27.35 million (GST exclusive). Projects are planned to be completed by April 2022 and are now underway. Further details on round 1 are contained in the round 1 guidelines which are accessible through the Community Grants Website.

Projects funded in round 1 are listed below:

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Smart Farming Partnerships Round 1 list of successful applicants PDF PDF Icon 14 404 KB
Smart Farming Partnerships Round 1 list of successful applicants DOCX Word Icon 14 44 KB

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Smart Farms Small Grants

Smart Farms Small Grants (up to $43.5 million over 6 years) rounds 1 – 4 have ranged from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $200,000 (GST exclusive). Rounds 1 – 4 of Smart Farms Small Grants (SFSG) have funded organisations and individuals to undertake sustainable agriculture projects and build the capacity and capability of Australia’s farmers, fishers and foresters to adopt best practice natural resource management methods.

SFSG funding will:

  • deliver more sustainable, productive and profitable agriculture, fishing, aquaculture and forestry industries
  • protect and improve the condition of natural resources
  • assist in protecting Australia’s biodiversity.

Organisations and individuals  applying in rounds 1 – 4 were encouraged to apply for funding for projects that promote and support adoption of best practice sustainable land management. Applicants were also able to apply for projects that strengthen the capacity of Landcare groups and others to improve adoption of best practice.

The final round of SFSG is now open, with $13 million available for grants between $100,000 to $250,000 per activity and will be delivered over two years. Applicants may apply for a maximum of $2 million per application.

As part of the Australian Government’s commitment to the National Soil Strategy, two-year Soil Extension Activities will be funded through the Smart Farms Small Grants program to improve our understanding of Australia’s soil condition and how to:

  • better manage our soils
  • assess the impact of land management practices on soil
  • assist farmers to improve their productivity and profitability
  • better support farmers to participate in the Emissions Reduction Fund.

Soil extension activities will support farmers and land managers to understand the benefits of soil testing and take practical action to improve the management of their soil and land. This may include working with farmers and land managers to participate in the National Soil Monitoring and Incentives Pilot Program, assist them to interpret results, and help them to take action to improve their soil health.

Improved soil health is key to sustainable, productive and profitable farm businesses. Organisations and individuals are strongly encouraged to apply and contribute to this national effort.

For more information and details on how to apply, visit the Community Grants Hub www.communitygrants.gov.au/grants

Round 4

Applications for the fourth round of Smart Farms Small Grants closed on 9 October 2020. Round 4 funded 84 projects to a value of $6.484 million (GST Exclusive).

Projects Funded in round 4 are listed below:

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Smart Farms Small Grants round 4 - list of successful projects PDF PDF Icon 30 397 KB
Smart Farms Small Grants round 4 - list of successful projects DOCX Word Icon 30 130 KB

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Round 3

Applications for the third round of Smart Farms Small Grants closed on 19 December 2019. This round funded 113 projects to a value of up to $5.03 million (GST Exclusive). Projects commenced in May 2020 and will be completed by 30 June 2022. Further details can be found in the round 3 guidelines on the Community Grants Website.

Projects funded in round 3 are listed below:

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Smart Farms Small Grants round 3 - list of successful projects PDF PDF Icon 40 704 KB
Smart Farms Small Grants round 3 - list of successful projects DOCX Word Icon 40 119 KB

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Round 2

Applications for round 2 closed on 11 January 2019. This round funded 110 projects to a value of up to $9.25 million (GST Exclusive). Projects are planned to be completed by September 2021. Further details can be found in the round 2 guidelines on the Community Grants Website.

Projects funded in round 2 are listed below:

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Smart Farms Small Grants round 2 - list of successful projects PDF PDF Icon 55 648 KB
Smart Farms Small Grants round 2 - list of successful projects DOCX Word Icon 55 84 KB

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Round 1

Applications for round 1 closed on 7 December 2017. This round funded 77 projects up to a value of up to $4.75 million (GST exclusive). Projects are planned to be completed by April 2020. Further details can be found in the round 1 guidelines on the Community Grants Website.

Projects funded in round 1 are listed below:

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Smart Farms Small Grants round 1 - list of successful projects PDF PDF Icon 39 548 KB
Smart Farms Small Grants round 1 - list of successful projects DOCX Word Icon 39 80 KB

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A further three rounds are expected under the Smart Farms Small Grants program.

Building Landcare Community and Capacity

The Building Landcare Community and Capacity Program ($34.9 million over 6 years) provides ad-hoc grants for initiatives that directly support the Landcare community and farmer organisations. Activities suitable for funding are based on consultation and emerging issues. 35 projects have been funded to date. 

These activities include, but are not limited to:

  • awards and recognition for excellence among the Landcare community
  • leadership development opportunities
  • conferences and networking events
  • communication and community engagement activities and other projects that strengthen the social and technical capacity that underpins the delivery of Landcare
  • efforts by Landcare and farming groups to deliver on-the-ground improvements in land management.

Projects funded under the BLCC are listed below:

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Building Landcare Community Capacity Program list of successful applicants PDF PDF Icon 8 268 KB
Building Landcare Community Capacity Program list of successful applicants DOCX Word Icon 8 55 KB

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Last reviewed: 6 September 2021
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