The Future Drought Fund launches $1.6m initiative via Nuffield Australia to help accelerate drought resilience

Mel Brown, First Assistant Secretary at Farm Resilience at Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestory
Mel Brown, First Assistant Secretary at Farm Resilience at Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestory

The Future Drought Fund (FDF) is investing $1.6m via the country’s agricultural scholarship organisation, Nuffield Australia, over the next two years for scholarships and training.

What is the mission behind the initiative?

The program will support farmers across 2024 and 2025 to increase their knowledge of new tools and practices helping the agricultural sector respond to a changing climate. Scholars will travel overseas to study drought resilience and learn from international leaders in the field.

​The investment will see all Nuffield Australia scholars supported to increase their knowledge of drought resilience to better prepare themselves and their communities for drying conditions. The first 5 Drought Resilience Scholars supported by the FDF announced include:

  • Caitlin Herbert from Eugowra, NSW, researching the rolle cattle feedlots can play in helping the beef supply chain prepare for drought.

  • Michael Taylor from Kentucky, NSW. The former Australian Farmer of the Year will study solutions to the challenges that hinder the widespread adoption of agroforestry.

  • Claudia Benn from Injune, QLD, will extend on the work of previous Scholars to help Australian farmers farm more profitably in alignment with natural systems.

  • Ben Poschelk farms at Glenn Innes, NSW. Ben will undertake a global analysis of resilience thinking and change in people and communities who have adapted to adverse weather conditions.

  • Natalie Schlitz from Kerang, VIC, will investigate weaknesses that threaten the viability of the Australian fodder export sector in a water-limited future.

What does the initiative mean for the sector?

First Assistant Secretary of Farm Resilience, Mel Brown, said the scholarships provide farmers with an opportunity to gain a perspective on drought resilience activities. “The FDF supports scholars to build drought resilience expertise, adapt innovate technology and practices from overseas, and allows these learnings to be shared to advance Aussie agriculture,” she said.

“The department congratulates the 5 Drought Resilience Scholars awarded for 2024 and looks forward to seeing what can be accomplished through this important investment.”

To learn how to apply for the 2025 Drought Resilience Scholarship Program visit website.