The FarmReady Reimbursement Grants program will recommence from 1 July 2011 for the 2011-12, when FarmReady will be expanded to include training courses in agritourism and food tourism.

Last year (2010-11), the available funding ran out before the end of the year and with the same amount of money available next year plus expanded course offerings, we think the smart word is to get any applications in early.

Eligible participants for the FarmReady Reimbursement Grants are able to claim up to $1,500 per financial year to attend FarmReady approved courses, with additional funding available for associated reasonable travel, accommodation and childcare expenses.

Approved courses and course providers can be found on www.farmready.gov.au

If you wish to considered for a FarmReady Reimbursement Grant, contact the training provider to confirm the course is relevant to your needs, including dates and location of the course. Complete and submit an Application form for FarmReady Reimbursement Grant to the Program Administrator prior to commencing the course. Completed forms must be submitted at least five (5) working days prior to course commencement for processing. A pre-approval notification will be issued to you via email or fax, within 5 working days of receiving your form. You must be pre-approved before attending the course or you may not be eligible to claim your reimbursement.

WGGA’s VineBiz program is now FarmReady approved for courses running from 1 July 2011. Mary Retallack is the approved trainer and the course ID number is FRTCO961. The course description and contact details will be published on the FarmReady Reimbursement Grants website at www.farmready.gov.au, (look up ‘WGGA’s VineBiz Program’).  Find out more about VineBiz.

WFA’s Manager Natural Resources, Jonathan Green, has informed us that the Entwine training is FarmReady approved and consistent with the advice here about getting in early, he notes that this training is the initial part of gaining Entwine membership and once trained, there is no requirement to go on to the audit or join Entwine within any set time period. Hence, getting in early on the training, with costs reimbursed, is a good idea if growers are contemplating Entwine.