New service a helping hand for farmers

A helping hand for busy farmers is at the heart of a new service launched today to spread skills and knowledge across the primary sector, say Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Climate Change Minister James Shaw.

“The Extension Service Model will be rolled out over four years by the Ministry for Primary Industries, with $3 million from Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures,” says Damien O’Connor who launched the service at Otahuao Farm near Masterton today.

“We’re not starting from zero on agricultural extension, which is where knowledge, technology and tools are shared with farmers to improve their farming systems.

 “There are a range of good extension programmes under way, but there is opportunity for us to play a stronger role in partnering with industry to support better coordination and targeting of services that focus on sustainable and profitable farming.

“The Coalition Government is committed to working with primary producers to move from volume to value, especially as consumers and markets expect their food and fibre to be produced by sustainable production systems that promote good animal welfare, fair working conditions and sound environmental stewardship.

“The Extension Service Model is another tool in the kit to ensure the policy direction at Government level and the innovations and lessons at farm level are widely shared, including with the farmer down the back of the valley,” Damien O’Connor said.

“This initiative will support farmers to achieve greater sustainability and value in their operations, which can help lift water quality, improve biosecurity and help meet New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions targets,” says James Shaw.