Rain, funds bring drought relief to ACT farmers

As farmers enjoyed the rain that fell in the capital on Wednesday, the ACT government announced $150,000 in grants to help farming businesses become more drought-resilient.

The funding will be used to install infrastructure, including for fodder storage and water supplies to allow farmers to manage their stock and protect their resource base during extended dry periods.

It was weather for ducks - and farmers - on Wednesday with 15.2 millimetres of rain in Canberra. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

It was weather for ducks - and farmers - on Wednesday with 15.2 millimetres of rain in Canberra. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Seventeen of the grants will be allocated to help farmers improve stock water, which is used to keep livestock alive. The funds will go towards dam construction, silt removal and bore and tank installation, as well as the construction of pipes and troughs to extend water into areas where dams have dried up.

Seven grants will go towards the construction of silos and haysheds to conserve fodder for livestock.

Minister for Environment and Heritage Mick Gentleman said most of the funding recipients were planning to use the fodder storage sheds to harvest rainfall for stock water.

Installing fencing to manage kangaroo numbers will be part of two projects funded after the announcement.

"In the face of climate change, farm business is becoming increasingly complex and the ability to adapt and build resilience is crucial. These grants will assist our ACT farmers to make those adaptations," Mr Gentleman said.

The government will also increase the off-farm assets test from $1 million to $5 million, making it easier for farmers to access the freight subsidy and matching what is available to farmers in NSW.

The $1 million asset test had been criticised by the ACT Rural Landholders Association for being too restrictive, with the association saying only a handful of farmers would have been eligible.

It comes as Canberra received 15.2 millimetres of rain on Wednesday, the capital's biggest drenching in two months.

A 19-minute downpour brought about four millimetres of rain just after 3am, before a series of heavy showers in the morning and early afternoon delivered Canberra its wettest day since September 7.

Wednesday's rainfall was more than the total amount delivered during October, traditionally the territory's wettest month.

The showers could have been even more significant after the Bureau of Meteorology predicted falls of up to 25 millimetres on Wednesday.

No rain is predicted for the rest of the week.