Sustainable farming boost

Damien O'Connor, Minister of Agriculture
Damien O'Connor.

Three research projects looking at intramuscular fat in lambs, forage crops for pigs and a proposed national sustainability standard have been given the green light, alongside 12 others, in a funding boost for the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF).

Southdown and Romney Breeders and the Alliance Group, will receive $174,000 from the Ministry of Primary Industries for work quantifying the advantages of breeding for intramuscular fat and meat yield of lamb through the use of a gene-marker that has been identified by Lincoln University.

Another Massey University project ‘Can a sow be more like a cow?’ has won $223,976 to look at forage crops for pigs. The team will be investigating the feed value, cost and nutritive make-up of forage crops, such as clover, plantain and chicory in pig diets, to use feedstuffs not in direct competition as human food sources.

The New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFEA) has also been granted $50,000 to analyse sustainability programmes in New Zealand and globally, to define a national standard for farming and growing excellence and to recommend a sustainability programme for implementation by NZFEA.

The 15 new SFF projects, announced by Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor, at the Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Invercargill on Saturday night,  add to the 28 already confirmed from the 2017 funding round.

A massive over-subscription to the fund in recent years was relieved earlier this year by Budget 2018’s $15 million boost over four years.

“This Government is working alongside farmers in helping to grow a sustainable, modern, productive and profitable primary sector.

“These projects, spanning sectors from meat and wool to forestry and aquaculture, are led by those on the front-line and provide further opportunities for grassroots-up solutions to some of New Zealand’s most pressing issues such as climate change, pest and disease management, water quality, and food production and safety.

“Since 2000, the SFF has supported more than 1,000 primary sector projects, which provide economic, environmental and social benefits to all New Zealanders.

“A key part of all SFF projects is sharing the knowledge with the wider community to boost the uptake of sustainable practices,” Damien O’Connor said.

The next SFF funding round opens on Monday 9 July.

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