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Funding rural projects for sustainable futures

Funding rural projects for sustainable futures – the SFF opens its 2007 round

The government’s fund for supporting the sustainable growth of New Zealand’s primary industries is now open for new proposals for the 2007/08 year.

Each year the Sustainable Farming Fund, which is administered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), provides up to $9.5 million in grants for projects that contribute to the on-going economic, environmental, and social wellbeing of the country’s primary producers.

There is one funding round per year and Fund Manager Craig Grant says now is the time to plan an application for funding commencing in July 2007. Applications close on Monday 12 February 2007.

There are two categories of grant funding available – those for less than $20,000 (including GST), which are particularly aimed at small/local projects, for new crops or small sectors; and grants over $20,000 and up to $200,000.

Craig Grant says that the Fund supports farmer and grower-led projects to tackle specific problems or opportunities, and to share best practice. The success of previous projects, however, means that the Fund is very popular — with 222 applications being received in the last round from which 63 projects were supported.

These included projects across the horticultural, agricultural and forestry sectors, and involved a wide range of activity, including the following:

minimising off-target impacts of kiwifruit orchard sprays; implementing ultra low residue apple production; developing farmer training workshops and information resources for the management of internal parasites; characterising soil nutrient accumulation and loss from dairy farm pastures on the West Coast; developing decision support systems for indigenous forest opportunities; and scoping karaka nuts as a 'new' nut crop

For more information on these, and other previously funded projects, go to http://www.maf.govt.nz/sff/about-projects/index.htm

Applications must be on the official electronic application forms. These forms, together with guidelines, criteria and contact details for fund advisors who can help with applications, are available from the Sustainable Farming Fund website: www.maf.govt.nz/sff


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