Rural Fund launched
The Sustainable Farming Fund has been launched, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.
The fund is part of the Labour-Alliance coalition government's commitment to rural communities and their well-being.
"It was the most important measure announced for farming and rural communities in this year's Budget," Mr Sutton said.
The contestable fund would provide financial support through grants for help in solving community problems, thereby enhancing environmental, economic, and social outcomes.
Mr Sutton said the grant, more than $5 million this year and planned to increase in future years, would help communities work out which projects would help them. For example, rather than fund irrigation schemes, grants from the fund could be used to pay for feasibility studies to ascertain whether it was worth it for the community to put its money into irrigation schemes.
The fund is complementary to other Government initiatives, particularly the regional development strategy and the environmental programmes underway.
"Before the election, I said Labour would boost funding for sustainable land management initiatives. Now the Labour-Alliance coalition government is delivering on that promise."