The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Support for ag societies


The State Government has put aside another $300,000 to support agricultur­al societies recover from cancelling their annual shows due to the COVID19 pandemic.

Agricultur­e Minister Mary-anne Thomas has officially opened the Agricultur­al and Pastoral Society Grants Program for this year, with grants of up to $10,000 available to successful applicants.

Agricultur­al shows across the Wimmera-mallee are among the many events to fall victim to the pandemic and subsequent restrictio­ns, lockdowns and general uncertaint­y.

Ms Thomas said agricultur­al shows played a significan­t role in regional Victoria’s vibrant calendar of events, promoting the agricultur­e industry and showcasing the best of the state’s livestock, local art, craft and artisanal produce.

She said the events, drawing on volunteers to their committees from across the community, were also important social institutio­ns.

“From the very young to the very old, Victorians love their local show and the pandemic has again played havoc with these local institutio­ns – that’s why we’re providing this vital support,” she said.

“Agricultur­al shows are a significan­t part of not only regional Victoria but the entire state, providing opportunit­ies for up to 50,000 volunteers and attracting about two million patrons annually.”

Recipients can use grants for a variety of purposes, including implementa­tion of COVID-SAFE measures and support for the use of technology to encourage remote participat­ion in show activities.

They could also use them to develop infrastruc­ture, increase community involvemen­t and improve show planning activities.

The annual grants program continues to support up to 90 percent of the total cost of projects. Earlier this year, the government announced 46 recipients from a 2020 program, which shared in almost $300,000.

Recipients used the grants for various projects, including purchasing a grandstand, extending a shearing pavilion, providing sanitiser stations, the installati­on of solar panels and the purchase of portable animal yards.

Ms Thomas said the government would continue to support agricultur­al and pastoral societies and their communitie­s and economies and support regional jobs as the state united to combat the pandemic.

Applicatio­ns for the Agricultur­al and Pastoral Society Grants Program are open until October 3.

More informatio­n is available online at agricultur­

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