Primary sector budget projects begin to roll out

More than 2000 farmers will be helped with on-the-ground support to lift their environmental sustainability and unlock more value for their hard work as part of Budget 2019 funding, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

At Fieldays today Mr O’Connor, joined by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, spoke about the focus of the $229 million Sustainable Land Use Budget package.

“Through Budget 2019, more than $35 million will go towards providing practical advice, information and tools for farmers and growers to improve their operations on the ground. This funding goes hand in hand with a regulatory package designed to improve the environmental outcomes of land use.

“An important part of this is about extension – pulling together clusters of farmers and growers in different regions across the country, to share information, insights and advice with like-minded people who understand local issues.

“We want two extension clusters under way by September, with a further rollout in the remainder of 2019 and 2020. We’re committed to working with the great existing sector extension services and outreach work already under way.

“Over the next four years, up to 2,200 farmers in targeted catchments and regions will have the direct on-the-ground support needed to lift their environmental sustainability and boost their bottom line.”

Mr O’Connor said about $12 million was also committed to support Māori landowners and agribusinesses to get greater value and sustainability from their land, and $5 million was available to enhance primary industry adviser capabilities.

“Around $43 million has been committed to upgrade relevant decision support tools, like Overseer. For example, Budget 2019 funding will help to improve the accuracy of Overseer’s modelled estimates and boost the range of farm systems and conditions it models.

That work sat alongside initiatives already under way such as developing integrated farm plans to make life easier for farmers.

“The Government and industry groups are talking now about integrated farm planning and it’s a sign of the healthy collaboration taking place.

“We want to develop a more streamlined approach for farm planning, incorporating the areas of biosecurity, animal welfare, food safety and health and safety.”

“New Zealand’s future wellbeing, including the wellbeing of our rural communities, depends on an economy that is both environmentally sustainable and generates high value for its people. Budget 2019 funding from will provide a big step forward towards this future.”

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