Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Ground-breaking digital farm research project backed by MPI

Farmers and growers will be able to collate and share environmental compliance data, and build export value if a new research project is successful, Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor has announced.

The Government is backing the research through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures). The research aims to fast-track the delivery of a digital solution for farm environment plans. SFF Futures is contributing $493,500 to the $823,500 project, led by Trust Alliance New Zealand (TANZ).

“A key objective for us is to deliver integrated farm planning to reduce duplication and cost for farmers and growers as they meet new environmental goals. This research will help take us there,” Minister O’Connor said.

“TANZ is exploring and designing a proof-of-concept for a digital Farm Environment Plan (dFEP) solution to move away from the current paper-based approach. This will enable New Zealand farmers to collate and share farm information required for environmental regulation more quickly and effectively.”

Farmers will be required to comply with environmental regulations, such as land use, water quality and emissions management, by 2025. Within the next year, the dFEP project aims to have completed their study across New Zealand to find ways to improve data sharing, and streamline the process for farmers and growers. The project will also be working with a range of other parties such as industry partners and regulators including MPI, the Ministry for the Environment, regional councils and AgriTech NZ.

“TANZ will draw on their findings to develop a more efficient way for data interoperability in a secure way that keeps farmers and growers in control of their information,” Mr O’Connor said.

“One of the goals of this project will be education and awareness-raising among farmers and growers, so they understand the benefits of this new way of data management and permissioned data sharing.”

As a member of TANZ, Federated Farmers New Zealand will assist in outreach to farmers.

The Minister said supporting a more sustainable farming sector aligns with the values of the Government’s Fit for a Better World roadmap for the primary sector, which aims to boost productivity, sustainability and jobs over 10 years.

“High-value consumers overseas are increasingly wanting to know that the products they’re purchasing are both good for them and for the environment. By supporting the industry to build its credentials, we move to where our markets are going and we galvanise our recovery from COVID-19.”

“The easier we can make compliance for farmers the better outcomes there will be for our environment,” Mr O’Connor said.

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