The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) notes the arrival of a key milestone today with the approval of the first tranche of projects under the Federal Government’s $100 million Rural Research and Development (R&D) for Profit Programme. NFF President Brent Finlay said the $26.7 million announced by the Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce MP in Armidale today will fast-track critical productivity tools for farmers across a broad range of agricultural sectors. “The first round of successful projects aim to bring tools like new biological weed controls, better seasonal forecasting and improved waste utilisation to market in coming years,” Mr Finlay said. “Investment in rural R&DE delivers great value to the farm sector and the economy, with every dollar spent generating a $12 return within ten years. “Productivity improvements from these investments are critical to maintaining Australia’s place as a major agricultural exporter in the region.” The NFF has long called for continued investment in RD&E to drive the innovation required to grow a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry. Projects announced today will be delivered through the 15 Rural R&D Corporations in partnership with industry, universities and research agencies across Australia. This collaboration will attract an extra $30 million in research contributions, delivering direct benefits through practical improvements in farm practices. “Importantly, this investment is focussed on improving profit inside the farm gate – a key priority for the NFF and its Members,” Mr Finlay said. “Ensuring there is optimum value from Government investment is vital. The design of the initiative, which encourages collaboration, together with its targeted focus, will make a real difference on the ground. “We are pleased to see this election promise translated into core agricultural policy, and look forward to seeing the first round of projects up and running in coming weeks.” For more information on the Rural R&D for Profit Programme, including the full list of successful projects, visit www.agriculture.gov.au/rd4profit.