Latest News Partner news

Future Drought Fund’s Networks to Build Drought Resilience

8 November 2021

Grants of up to $150,000 available

Like ARLF, our partners the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) is facilitating a stream of the Future Drought Fund, running the Networks to Build Drought Resilience program.

Funded by the Australian Government and a range of other donor partners, the program is focused on strengthening social connectedness, building social capital and funding transformative local initiatives that will enable agricultural communities to be more prepared for the impacts of drought.

In mid-October, FRRR announced recipients for the first round of funding,with $1.4 million being awarded to 33 local community groups across Australia to strengthen networks and build drought resilience.

One of the recipients was Victoria’s Birchip Cropping Group (BCG), who were awarded $49,500. Motivated to endorse and support new generation farmers to succeed despite the drought, BCG is bringing people together for networking, education and collaboration.

Their first activity is a regional networking event called ‘Filling the GAPP – a forum for future farmers’. Following the success of the original GAPP (Growth, Adoption, Production and Profitability) program, which ran between 2015 and 2017, they have been seeking funding to run it again. Thanks to this Future Drought Fund’s Networks to Build Drought Resilience grant, BCG will build on their current networks to inform and support a new generation of farmers.

BCG will also run seven climate-focused discussion groups across the Wimmera, Mallee and West Wimmera regions in March 2022. These forums will target new generation and early career farmers, bringing them together to work collaboratively to exchange ideas and solve problems, while leveraging the wider BCG network and industry connections to build local drought resilience.

Their drive to bring agribusiness industry peoples together at a local level is inspiring. BCG CEO Fiona Best is passionate about the work they are doing. “Farm business resilience can be enhanced by having a strong support network of peers to engage with. This is particularly important during times of drought.”

Another bright star among the Future Drought Fund’s Networks to Build Drought Resilience grant recipients is the Women Together Learning (WoTL) group. Their grant of $29,625 will help build their network and support local women in agriculture.

Specifically, they have taken on the task of delivering five workshops that will focus on future drought, climate projections and the impact on agricultural practice and rural communities. This amazing coming-together of women in the industry will take place in Rudall and Cowell on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, as well as Pinnaroo and Karoonda in the Mallee. Set to tackle important issues such as the needs of rural women in preparing for future drought, these structured two-day workshops are dedicated to planning, professional development and networking amongst peers and industry professionals.

FRRR chief executive officer Natalie Egleton says these are exactly the kind of initiatives that this program is designed to support.

“Every community is different, and so too is the optimal approach to strengthening resilience. This program is deliberately designed to support community leaders to invest in the fabric of their communities – their people and networks, in a way that makes most sense for their community.

“With many places impacted by COVID-19, plus drought, fires, and for many the mouse plague, local fundraising has been even more difficult than usual. So it’s wonderful to be able to offer the support these communities need to strengthen community connectedness and build their networks,” she said.

Applications for round 2 of the grant program are currently open, with a further $2.9 million available to not-for-profits and community groups to support grassroots projects that help build resilience within local networks and enhance the ability to respond to drought.

The grants can fund community-led initiatives such as events, projects, activities, training and small-scale infrastructure that will strengthen community engagement, networking and preparedness for drought. Some wonderful examples of this include things like creating or strengthening networks, such as farmers, young-farmers or women in agriculture; training or upskilling in tools and techniques to cope with future climate events; addressing mental health and wellbeing; or even small-scale upgrades to facilities that make it easier to come together.

Applications will close 15 November 2021 with funds awarded in late February 2022. FRRR is particularly interested in hearing from groups seeking between $20,000 and $50,000, although there are other tiers of funding available.

To learn more about the program, the types of initiatives the program can support, how to apply, and to download the guidelines, visit the Networks website.
The FRRR team is always happy to talk through your community-led project. Contact FRRR directly on 1800 170 020 or email to book in a dedicated time to speak with one of the team about your project.