Drought-ravaged cotton farmers set sight on innovation
AFTER devastating drought last year left cotton farmer Nigel Corish without any irrigated crops, a welcome federal boost has ensured security on his family farm for years to come.
As part of the Smart Farms Small Grants scheme, Goondiwindi producers will be part of 40 farmers to benefit from $50,000 worth of sustainability projects, through Cotton Australia.
For Mr Corish, it meant he could use the latest technology to minimise water waste in the notoriously thirsty crop.
“We’re able pretty well map out elevation of each paddock and identify poor performing areas and low-lying levels,” he said.
“We’re using less water to produce more crops.”
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the funding helped ensure Australian farmers could continue to trailblaze with “ingenuity”.
“Goondiwindi is a huge and diverse agricultural producer and it’s exciting to see more innovative practices being implemented by its cotton farmers,” Mr Littleproud said.
“They’ll access resources through an online portal to implement natural resource management practices that benefit their farming practices and the land they work.
“Farmers have always looked after the land and we are giving them a helping hand through this grants program to adopt best practice natural resource management methods.”
Cotton is one of the biggest industries in the Goondiwindi region, worth more than $350 million.
Mr Corish, a third-generation farmer said, during uncertain times, the federal commitment had bolstered hopes that his children would also be able to work the land one day.
“Funding allowed us to do work to improve, in a time where we wouldn’t have been able to do it without — it’s kept our business going,” he said.
“It’s very important to us to keep that generation of farming going and to leave the land in a better way than what we found it.”