- The Albanese Government has launched the On Farm Connectivity Program (OFCP) to boost agtech adoption among Australia’s primary producers.
- The program is funded with $30 million from the October 2022-23 Federal Budget.
- OFCP offers 50% rebates on smart farming technology to optimize various farming aspects like soil quality, water use, and livestock monitoring.
- 79 equipment suppliers have joined the program, offering rebates between $3,000 and $30,000 for eligible equipment.
- The initiative is part of the government’s $656 million Better Connectivity Plan to improve mobile and broadband connectivity nationwide.
Applications are now open for the first round of the On Farm Connectivity Program (OFCP), a new initiative by the Albanese Government. The program aims to increase the adoption of agricultural technology (agtech) to enhance the productivity, growth, and sustainability of Australia’s primary producers in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.
Funding and Scope
The OFCP is funded through the October 2022-23 Federal Budget with an allocation of $30 million. The program is designed to extend connectivity further onto farming properties and enable the use of connected machinery and sensor technology.
The program offers 50% rebates on the cost of smart farming technology. This includes technology that can help optimize soil quality and nutrient levels, monitor livestock, improve water use efficiency, streamline farm logistics, and boost customer connections globally. Following an expression of interest process earlier this year, 79 equipment suppliers have signed on to the program. These suppliers can apply for rebates ranging from $3,000 to $30,000 for eligible equipment purchased by primary producers.
Rebates are available for a wide range of technology, including external antennas, repeaters, boosters, sensors, automated tank systems, pump controllers, and animal movement tags. The rebates also cover relevant installation and training costs.
Broader Connectivity Plan
The OFCP is part of the Albanese Government’s $656 million Better Connectivity Plan, which aims to improve mobile and broadband connectivity and resilience in communities across Australia.
Quotes from Government Officials
Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, emphasized the importance of the agricultural sector and stated that the program would give farmers and producers the technology they need to operate more efficiently and sustainably. Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon Murray Watt, added that the program would significantly boost the agriculture, fisheries, and forestry sectors by enabling producers to take advantage of new technologies and innovation.