6 Dec 2019

Sustainable farming advice programme wins gov investment

12:30 pm on 6 December 2019

The government is investing up to $9 million in a project that it says will help Southland farmers use their land more sustainably.

beautiful scenic of farm field in southland new zealand

Southland farm land. (file photo) Photo: 123rf

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor today announced the farmer support programme Thriving Southland would receive between $6m and $9m over five years, to help farmers and growers implement changes on farm in a positive way.

The money comes from the government's $229m Sustainable Land Use package announced in Budget 2019.

Mr O'Connor said the programme covered more than 20 local catchment groups and would provide practical information to more than 1000 Southland farmers on a range of topics including healthier waterways, better productivity and farmer wellbeing.

"Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing agriculture and one of the biggest long-term challenges for New Zealand.

"Our farmers and growers are committed to making genuine change. Many are already doing it, but they need practical information about what steps to take, clear direction about what to aim for and support to take action," he said.

Thriving Southland chair Ewen Mathieson said the project would support vibrant communities by building on the good work of the combined catchment groups.

"Southland communities have proven to be innovative, and as we begin to understand what our direction needs to be we will see our farming communities implement change in a positive way."

Four similar extension projects are planned in Kaipara, King Country, Hurunui and Ellesmere.

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