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GUIDELINES AND ELIGIBILITY FOR APPLICANTS

1. ELIGIBILITY
To be eligible to apply to the Farmers' Fund, an applicant should:

i. Be located in Victoria, the Riverina are of NSW, eastern South Australia or Tasmania
ii. Be a share farmer, dairy farm owner operator, or a dairy farm lessee.

2. USE OF FUNDS
Applications to use funds from the Farmers' Fund for any of the following purposes are encouraged:
iii. Training for business management or agronomic skills directly related to the operation of a dairy farm.
iv. Investments that enhance dairy farm business productivity, sustainability and resilience such as, but not limited to:
Pasture improvements
Feed pads
Milking equipment
Management systems
Herd Genetics
Feed storage
Irrigation and water upgrades
Feed systems; and 
Engaging expert advice to improve farm productivity, sustainability, business management, business planning, or succession planning.

3. PROGRAMS BEYOND THE SCOPE OF THE FUND
Funds cannot be used for purposes which include, but are not limited to:
v. Research expenses
vi. International travel for conferences or study
vii. Costs associated with the purchase of, or lease of land and livestock
viii. Legal expenses
ix. Payment of fines or taxes
x. Other uses that may be determined by the panel from time to time.

4. APPLICATIONS TO THE FARMERS' FUND
There will be one round of funding available each quarter. Round three applications open from 20 February 2017 and close 31st March 2017.
Applications to the fund will only be accepted from those applicants that complete and submit the approved application form. Applications must be submitted either by email or post. Visit the 'apply now' tab here to apply.

Applications for each round of funding must be received by the closing date specified by the panel.
So that the panel is in a position to properly and fairly evaluate each application to the fund, applicants must provide detailed and accurate information.

This information includes:
Applicant details
Details of the dairy farm business
History of involvement in the dairy industry 
Milk Processor Income Estimations for the previous and current financial year
Amount of funding sought 
Purpose of the funding
A statement of how the funding will benefit the farm business, farm family and/or the dairy industry 
The provision of two referees
Answer ALL other questions provided on the application form. 
Applications will be reviewed by the panel after the closing date of each round, with a decision on the recipients of funding to be made as determined by the panel. 
Referees must not be a relative or spouse.  Examples of referees may include professional referees who are familiar with your farm such as your accountant, vet, or agronomist. It is recommended you notify your referee in advance. 

5. CONFIDENTIALITY
Applications to the Farmers' Fund will be treated in confidence. Applications will be restricted to the panel and any person engaged by the panel to assist with the assessment of applications. 
Referees provided by applicants may be contacted without prior notice being given to the applicant.
No information provided within an application form will be used for promotion of the Fund or Farmers’ Fund milk without the express consent of the applicant. 
Information from applications in a consolidated, unidentifiable form may be used for the purposes of promotion of the Fund and Farmer’s Fund milk. 
Unsuccessful applications will be destroyed at the end of each selection period.
 
6. RESERVATION OF THE PANEL’S RIGHTS
The panel may in its absolute discretion:
xx. Request clarification or further information in relation to any of the information provided by an Applicant
xxi. Accept or reject any Farmers' Fund Application Form submitted after the closing date 
xxii. Vary the Farmers' Fund application process at any time in which case VFF will provide applicants with reasonable notice to this effect
xxiii. At any time terminate the Farmers' Fund application process or suspend any part of the process with respect to any applicant 
xxiv. Vary the eligibility criteria, in which case VFF will provide applicants with reasonable notice to this effect.

7. APPLICANTS TO SEEK INDEPENDENT ADVICE
The receipt of funding from the Farmers' Fund may have taxation and legal implications for applicants. VFF recommends that all applicants obtain independent GST, taxation and legal advice in relation to the rights and obligations that may arise as a result of receiving funding.