Fed Govt opens $30m On Farm Connectivity Program

The first round of a new Government-sponsored $30 million On Farm Connectivity Program (OFCP), which is aimed at increasing the uptake of agricultural technologies (agtech), is now open for applications.

The program, which is funded through the October 2022-23 Federal Budget, is designed to enable agriculture producers and fisheries to extend connectivity further onto their property and take advantage of connected machinery and sensor technologies.

The new scheme will also provide 50 per cent rebates for the cost of smart farming technology designed to help optimise soil quality and nutrient levels, monitor livestock, and streamline farm logistics while boosting connections throughout the world.

The OFCP is part of the Federal Government’s $656 million Better Connectivity Plan aimed at improving mobile and broadband connectivity and resilience in communities.

According to data from the Government, 79 equipment suppliers have signed on to the program and will be able to apply for rebates of between $3,000 and $30,000 for equipment purchased by primary producers.

Additionally, rebates will be available to technology including external antennas, repeaters, boosters, sensors, automated tank systems and pump controllers, animal movement tags and relevant installation and training costs.

Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, has said the investment has proved that the Government has recognised the importance of the agricultural sector, “which feeds millions and supports thousands of jobs”.

“That’s why we’ve launched [the] new $30 million On Farm Connectivity Program to give farmers and producers access to the technology they need to boost productivity, reduce costs, operate more efficiently, sustainably and safely,” she said, commenting on the announcement.