Government strengthening farm planning system for farmers and growers

  • New scheme to fund training of farm advisers, with successful applicants able to receive up to $22,500 per year
  • An internship pilot to provide up to 40 people, especially students, with primary sector advisory experience
  • New fund will invest in initiatives to support the uptake of integrated farm planning

The Government is backing farmers and growers to adapt and innovate with a package of support to strengthen the rural advisory sector, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

Our primary sector has been crucial to New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid-19. As we continue to accelerate forward in our recovery, and as our primary sector exports look set to hit $50 billion by 30 June 2022, planning for the future is key.

“We’re investing more than $25 million to expand and strengthen the primary industry advisory sector to ensure farmers and growers have access to the highest quality farm planning support and advice,” Damien O’Connor said.

“A careers pathway scheme will focus on growing the diversity and number of advisers, with an emphasis on attracting more women and Māori into roles.

“Employers hiring new advisers, or upskilling existing staff, could receive up to $22,500 annually per adviser to help cover salary and training costs.

“An internship pilot targeting students will support businesses and organisations to provide up to 40 people with experience in the advisory sector.

“This is about building the capacity and capability of advisory services to enable food and fibre producers to access quality support and advice to add value to their agribusinesses.”

Damien O’Connor said the Government was committed to working with the sector to boost the number of farm advisers.

“We have worked closely with industry organisations, such as the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management (NZIPIM), and whenua Māori entities to determine the most effective way to develop capacity in the sector,” Damien O’Connor said.

A new fund will invest in initiatives across industry, regional councils, whenua Māori entities, communities, and catchment groups to broaden and accelerate the uptake of integrated farm planning by farmers, growers and Māori landowners.

“Priority will be given to initiatives that support Māori landowners and agribusinesses, and farmers and growers not currently undertaking farm planning,” Damien O’Connor said.

“We’re supporting the uptake of integrated farm planning to make meeting consumer, market, environmental, and business needs easier and less time-consuming for farmers and growers.

Damien O’Connor said the initiatives will build on the important on-the-ground work already being undertaken by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) across the country.

“That includes supporting at least 170 catchment groups and collating data from more than 2,000 farmers and growers to provide a national snapshot of farm performance, as well as partnering with Māori to increase the productivity and profitability of their whenua” Damien O’Connor said.

The work is part of the Government’s Fit for a Better World roadmap, which aims for food and fibre sector exports to earn an extra $44 billion over 10 years.

“Fit for a Better World is about sustainability, inclusivity and creating greater value. The roadmap is designed to strengthen the foundations of our trade-led recovery from COVID-19,” Damien O’Connor said.

The latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) shows revenue from food and fibre exports is predicted to hit a record $50 billion in the year to 30 June 2022.