Climate-Smart Agriculture Program - Small Grants

Climate-Smart Agriculture Program – Small Grants

  • Applications for Round 1 of the program are open until 4 June 2024.
  • The minimum grant for Round 1 is $10,000, while the maximum is $100,000.

The Australian Government is calling for organisations to apply through an open competitive process for projects under the Climate-Smart Agriculture Program - Small Grants Round 1. These small grants support grassroots and community-level projects aimed at assisting farmers and landholders in adopting sustainable agriculture practices and implementing practice changes. They enhance natural resource management, improve on-farm productivity, and build resilience to climate change. The grants include various projects and initiatives, facilitating information dissemination, extension activities, and the expansion of local initiatives. Both new and established climate-smart, sustainable agricultural practices are eligible for funding.

Key Requirements

The Australian Government is offering up to $13 million (excluding GST) across three rounds of competitive grant opportunities. Small Grants Round 1, spanning from 2024-25 to 2025-26, provides funding ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

Additionally, the Climate-Smart Agriculture Program will feature three rounds of open-competitive grant opportunities for small grants. Round 1 grants cover a two-year period, with a second round anticipated in 2025, also spanning two years.

Projects must conclude by November 2026, unless otherwise agreed upon by the department

Multiple applications are permitted, such as for distinct projects or different consortiums, each requiring a separate application form. If applying for the same project, only the latest accepted application will proceed.

Activities carried out on private land often yield private benefits for the land manager. Including a co-contribution in the project allows applicants to balance these private benefits with their own investment.

Co-contributions should be outlined in the project budget submitted with the application, and applicants are encouraged to provide them. Higher co-contributions will be viewed favourably during the assessment process.
Your project must achieve one or more of the specified outcomes.

This grant aims to achieve the following Small Grants outcomes:

  • Outcome 1 involves enhancing the knowledge and skills of farmers, landholders, and community groups in implementing locally relevant, best-practice, climate-smart, sustainable agriculture approaches, including those that promote natural capital and biodiversity conservation.
  • Outcome 2 aims to increase the adoption of climate-smart, sustainable agriculture practices among farmers, landholders, and communities.
  • Additionally, the grant prioritises enhancing First Nations engagement.

Each assessment criterion carries a different weight, guiding our evaluation of your application. These criteria include:

  1. Value for Money
  2. Linkages to Grant Purpose and Outcomes
  3. Project Delivery
  4. First Nations Engagement.

What is eligible for funding?

Eligible grant activities cover a broad spectrum aimed at achieving the grant’s objectives.

Examples include: fencing riparian zones, wetlands, and native vegetation to mitigate agricultural impacts and enhance on-farm management; establishing demonstration and monitoring sites for sustainable native vegetation management, incorporating livestock controls; trialling practices to enhance soil quality and mitigate erosion; managing local-scale weed and pest issues with innovative methods or targeting emerging outbreaks, excluding species under the legal responsibility of the applicant or others; improving nutrient use efficiency to reduce off-farm losses and greenhouse gas emissions while boosting productivity; promoting local adoption of climate-smart management guidelines; piloting innovative approaches tailored to local farming conditions or different geographical/climatic areas; adopting decision support tools like seasonal climate forecasting to inform land management decisions; engaging youth, women, and First Nations peoples in project activities; assessing uptake of climate-smart practices resulting from the grant project; and evaluating project outcomes through monitoring changes in soil health, vegetation, biodiversity, or production.

Funded activities should complement existing Australian Government initiatives without duplicating efforts.

Expenditure must occur within the grant activity agreement’s start and completion dates to qualify for funding.

Eligible expenditure includes various costs, including: direct labour expenses for employees directly engaged in grant activities, covering regular salaries or wages with associated tax deductions; up to 30% of labour on costs for employer contributions like superannuation, payroll tax, workers’ compensation insurance, and overheads such as office rent and computer provision for staff engaged in grant activities; additional administrative support and overheads beyond normal operational costs, capped at 10% of the grant; stipends for First Nations eldership, expertise, Indigenous knowledge, or advisory services contributing to project design or delivery; venue, equipment, and supply procurement or hiring to support grant activities; domestic travel costs limited to reasonable accommodation and transportation expenses for approved activities in Australia; training and capacity-building activities directly aligned with grant outcomes; communication and engagement initiatives supporting grant objectives; and independent audit costs for grant-funded activities, capped at 1% of the grant funding.

Not all project expenses may be eligible for grant funding, but co-contribution funding can cover ineligible activities.

What companies are eligible for funding?

To qualify, you must have an Australian Business Number (ABN), be a permanent resident of Australia if applying as an individual, hold an account with an Australian financial institution, demonstrate financial viability, and be located within Australia.

Additionally, your entity type must fall under one of the following categories: Company, Cooperative, Corporate State or Territory entity, Incorporated Association, Indigenous Corporation, Local Government Entity, Non-corporate Commonwealth statutory authority, Non-corporate State or Territory entity, Non-corporate State or Territory statutory authority, Partnership, Person, Sole Trader, or Statutory Entity.

If applying as a Trustee on behalf of a Trust, the Trustee must have one of the eligible entity types listed above.

Eligible applicants for Small Grants include a diverse range of individuals and groups, including farming systems groups, Local Landcare groups, farmers, pastoralists, farm foresters, aquaculture operators, fishers, networks in the agricultural sector, community-based groups such as Friends-of organizations, women and youth groups involved in sustainable agriculture, and groups predominantly comprising Indigenous Australians.

Is this grant competitive or entitlement based?

Competitive. Your application will be assessed among other applications by a judging panel.

How can I increase my chances of winning this grant?

By engaging an accredited government grants consultant, such as Avant Group.

Competitive grants often require significant business case development and project analysis to support the application, this may include detailed presentations supporting the project’s merit, projected sales, cost-benefit analysis and more.

As part of your engagement with Avant Group, your account manager will assess the required documents and will provide the following as needed to support your grant submission.

Grant application writeup including a detailed presentation illustrating how the grant funding will contribute to your project, how the funding will contribute to the project’s budget, a project milestone plan, delivery timeline, impact on employment if applicable and a breakdown of the management and leadership team for the project

  • Industry analysis presentation
  • Competitor Analysis Presentation
  • Marketing and Sales Analysis Presentation
  • 3-5 year Cashflow Forecast
  • 3-5 year Balance Sheet Forecast
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis of Grant Funding
  • End-to-end grant application including information collating, analysis and application writing
  • CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) cost-benefit analysis
  • Stakeholder relations and Risk Mitigation Plans
  • Any other relevant forecasting that will support your application

How can I get help with my application? Or know if I’m likely to win funding?

Avant Group offers a no-obligation assessment of your eligibility for funding and will assess your likelihood of a successful grant application.