Grant for cane harvester helps 2024 harvest get underway

Lobbying by Lismore MP Janelle Saffin has enabled the Lower Richmond River Cane Harvesting Co-operative to secure grants towards buying a new-generation cane harvester ... in time for harvest season.

THE Lower Richmond River Cane Harvesting Co-operative started harvesting last week, with the use of a next-generation harvester funded by a State and Federal grant.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery, Janelle Saffin, said the Co-op was able to buy a $930,000 sugar cane harvester with the support of funding under the Supply Chain Support Program.

“The Co-operative was heavily impacted by the 2022 floods, with sheds, machines, vehicles and parts damaged or lost.

“As a cooperative they were excluded from flood recovery grant programs and I took up their case with NSW Agriculture minister Tara Moriarty and Federal Minister Murray Watt.

“I advocated for a second round of the Supply Chain Support Program to include cooperatives, and the Lower Richmond Co-op successfully applied for a grant under that program.

“Their new Case 9900 series harvester, the first to operate in NSW, has increased harvesting capacity, lower fuel consumption, longer engine life, and automatically adjusts to difference operating conditions.

“And it’s great to know the harvester was bought locally from Days Machinery.

Co-operative Chairman Pat O’Connor said the $875,000 Supply Chain 50-50 grant enabled the purchase the harvester, a workshop truck, a forklift and a facility upgrade to make the workshop more resilient to cope with floods.

“There is no doubt that without Janelle Saffin’s intervention, harvesting co-operatives in NSW would not have received any assistance and it would have taken years to recover.

“We greatly appreciate the work Janelle has done for this Co-operative and the Sugar Industry as a whole on a number of issues.”

Caption: Co-op Chairman Pat O’Connor (left), Lismore MP Janelle Saffin, and Dan Hoppe from Days Machinery with the new cane harvester.