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New Sustainable Farming Fund round underway

New Sustainable Farming Fund round underway

Organisations and community groups throughout the country have up to eight weeks to make an application to the MAF Sustainable Farming Fund if they want to be considered in this year's funding round.

The Minister for Rural Affairs, Jim Sutton, announced on Friday that the Government had given the go-ahead for another three years of funding.

Addressing the Farm Forestry Association’s annual meeting, Mr Sutton said that the Fund has been allocated $10.6 million per annum for the next three years.

“I said in September three years ago, when the Fund came into existence, that it was the most important measure announced for farming and rural communities in that year’s Budget. I haven’t changed my mind about that,” Mr Sutton said.

“There have been 184 projects funded since it began. That’s 184 communities that have been able to advance their economic, social and environmental sustainability through research co-funded with the Government.”

Sustainable Farming Fund Manager, Kevin Steel says the first of the three newly funded rounds will begin immediately. The closing date for applications is Friday 6 June.

“This is to enable the selection of successful projects to be made by mid-September to, as much as possible, fit in with the agricultural calendar,” Mr Steel says.

The Fund sponsors community-based projects aimed at benefiting rural communities through improving the financial and environmental performance of New Zealand's land-based sectors.

It has been operating for three years and in that time has distributed $24 million to a wide variety of projects - from pasture development to pest control to fertiliser use and innovative animal and honey production schemes. The geographic areas have ranged throughout the country from the Far North to Southland. Kevin Steel says the new three-year funding announcement provides the opportunity for sector and community based groups to work together to overcome current production and environmental problems and seize opportunities.

He says that there has already has been strong enquiry from groups who have project proposals ready to bring forward for consideration.

Material outlining funding criteria, application and guidelines is available: on the SFF website – http:// http://www.maf.govt.nz/sff ; by phoning 0800 100 087; or by emailing mailto:sffund@maf.govt.nz

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