AgStart program receives welcome funding boost
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The Iemma Government has boosted the popular AgStart program with additional funding of $2 million dollars, Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said today.
Minister Macdonald said the funding boost would enable further expansion of the financial assistance program for young farmers during the worst drought in living memory.
"Almost 43% of NSW remains in drought so this extra funding could come at no better time," Minister Macdonald said.
"To date, roughly 100 young farmers have benefited from the almost $1 million dollars which has so far been administered to successful applicants through AgStart.
"This NSW Government assistance has helped applicants meet costs such as reimbursement of stamp duty, as well as attend management and financial training courses and implement capital improvements on their properties.
"This latest funding will enable a further three rounds of direct assistance to our young farmers and also ensure the continuation of the AgStart advisory board, which plays an important role in determining the most appropriate recipients."
First established in 2006, AgStart targets young farmers aged between 18 and 35 years, and is designed to both encourage and retain young farmers in the rural sector.
The program is overseen by the Ministerial Advisory Board, chaired by Lynne Gallagher, and administered through the Rural Assistance Authority (RAA).
"AgStart provides a flexible, case-by-case assessment of each individual’s needs and provides assistance where it will make the biggest difference," Minister Macdonald said.
"This approach follows extensive consultation with aspiring farmers, the agri-banking sector, NSW Farmers’ Association and representatives of agricultural organisations.
"The State Government recognises that there are many aspiring young farmers out there that need a hand to get onto the land, and cope with challenges such as drought. We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with farmers during difficult times on the land."
Application forms and information about the scheme are available from the Rural Assistance Authority’s website www.raa.nsw.gov.au or toll free on 1800 678 593.
Media contact: Jason Bartlett 0438 209 281