Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Farm funding to boost export sustainability credentials

The Government has today announced more than $14 million towards 37 projects to support farmers and growers to boost their sustainability credentials to export markets.

Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor said the Government was working alongside industry to support thousands of farmers and growers to coordinate and integrate farm planning, and reduce the administrative burden.

“Our focus is supporting farmers to grow their exports, reduce emissions, and maintain our international competitive edge into the future,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Integrated farm planning is a whole-farm approach to business planning, making it easier for farmers and growers to meet regulatory requirements and identify opportunities to grow their businesses.”

He said today’s funding announcement would provide the kind of practical common-sense tools and resources that farmers are asking for, to give them back more time to farm.

“The funding is part of a package of investment outlined in April 2022 to strengthen the primary industry advisory sector to ensure farmers and growers have access to the highest quality farm planning support and advice.”

“We will be partnering with the popular online learning platform Farm 4 Life and industry bodies such as Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Deer Industry New Zealand, and the Foundation for Arable Research, to develop national projects that will assist farmers who need support with planning,” the Minister said.

Trust Alliance NZ has been allocated almost $900,000 to create a digital wallet for farmers and growers, to improve the efficiency of sharing their verified farm information with regulators, regional councils, and processors.

Targeted projects for Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatū-Whanganui, West Coast, Canterbury, and Otago will fund catchment groups, farm consultants, and whenua Māori entities to deliver workshops and specially-tailored resources.

The successful applicants were chosen by a five-member panel headed by Hilton Collier, who’s an experienced farm adviser and Te Pūkenga’s Eastern Institute of Technology Board Chair.

“There was strong interest in the fund, with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) receiving 70 applications over two targeted funding rounds,” said Minister O’Connor.

He said the Government was also backing farmers on-the-ground by rolling out MPI’s On Farm Support services to help them navigate requirements around biosecurity, climate, water, and the environment.

“As part of that support we have worked with industry to develop new farm planning templates for animal welfare, biosecurity, intensive winter grazing, and greenhouse gas emissions, which can be downloaded from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ website.”

“There is no one typical farm or farmer. The sector is a tapestry of people with differing experience, ages, and aspirations. They’re farming and growing with differing soils, rainfall, and across diverse regions. Integrated farm planning is about supporting people to make good decisions based on their operation to lift their sustainability and productivity.

“Our primary sector exports continue to trend at record highs. As new trade deals with the United Kingdom and European Union, and other FTA upgrades fuel further growth, we will continue to support farmers and growers with the tools to maintain our competitive edge in a turbulent international market.

“In getting this right we continue to grow our export revenue and deliver economic security for all New Zealanders,” the Minister said.

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