More grants for small producers

Brewers, cheesmakers and lamb producers receive government grants

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The latest round of small-scale food and drink producer grants have been announced.

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SMALL GRANTS: Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes has annouced the latest round of funding, under the Small-Scale and Craft Program Business Development Grants scheme.

SMALL GRANTS: Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes has annouced the latest round of funding, under the Small-Scale and Craft Program Business Development Grants scheme.

Craft beer breweries, distilleries, a goat's cheese manufacturer and lamb producer are among the latest recipients of grants from the state government.

Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said more than 130 businesses would share in $2million in the latest round of the Small-Scale and Craft Program Business Development Grants scheme.

"Small-scale and craft agribusinesses play a vital role in Victoria's regional tourism and our reputation as a producer of quality food and beverages," Ms Symes said.

"As we move into recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, these grants will help businesses grow and diversify, generate jobs, boost our regional economies and build resilience."

Among the businesses to gain grants in the latest round is Monegeeta's Dreaming Goat Dairy

Owner Sarah Ajzner said the money would be used to upgrade the farm's pasteurizer and install a generator, to guard against power outages, in summer.

Previously the farm was relying on a portable generator.

"We had to bring in a portable generator, as we would have to throw out hundreds of dollars of stock from our coolrooms," Ms Azjner said.

She said the farm currently had 37 goats "and is growing."

The farm's effluent treatment system would also be upgraded.

The farm had been selling its yoghurt and handcrafted cheeses through about 12 farmers' markets.

"A couple have been cancelled, but the majority kept going and it's been a lifeline ofr us," Ms Ajzner said.

"The nature of dairy means you are not sitting around, you are still milking the goats and still waiting for things to open again."

Neil Stringer, Forge Creek Lamb, Forge Creek, East Gippsland, said he had successfully gained a grant to upgrade his stock and handling yards and some fencing.

He said he was drafting lambs off on a regular basis for processing and needed low-stress yards.

"The yards are here and we are hoping to pull the old ones down this week, or next week, and put in the new ones."

The Small-Scale and Craft Program Business Development Grants are part of the Government's $10.2 million commitment over four years to support the sector.

A further round of grants for larger projects worth up to $200,000 each will be announced later this year.

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