Coles is providing $5 million in grants and interest-free loans from its nurture fund to help farmers across Australia combat drought.
In the past year, Coles also provided more than half a million dollars in grants to farmers who applied to the Coles nurture fund to implement initiatives to make them less dependent on rain.
In Coolac, New South Wales, Michael Crowe from Gobarralong Valley Beef used a $400,000 Coles grant to build facilities to manufacture a nutritious animal fodder indoors – making him less dependent on grass and water.
At Oxley Flats in Victoria, Nigel and Hannah Stephens received a $134,000 grant to install a more efficient irrigation system so they could reduce their water use and grow grass-fed beef all year round.
Coles also launched a fundraising appeal at the end of July at its checkouts for people to support farmers struggling with the effects of drought.
All funds raised at the checkout will be provided to the Country Women’s Association to provide support to drought-affected families to help cover household costs such as school expenses and food, medical, electricity and water bills.
Coles managing director John Durkan said Coles was keen to do more to support families affected by drought.
“Many of our team members at stores in drought affected communities have heard harrowing stories from customers about the impact of the drought,” he said.
“Our store teams in these communities have helped by collecting donations of non-perishable food or providing gift cards but we wanted to take action at a national level to help more families facing hardship right now and to help farmers to combat drought in the future,” said Durkan.
Coles’ support will involve a fundraising appeal whereby customers can donate $2, $5, $10 or an amount of their choice at any Coles checkout across Australia, and $5 million in grants or interest free.
The company is also supporting its grass fed beef suppliers by buying their livestock as grain fed beef if the farmers have been forced to feed grain to their cattle during the drought.