Apply for the Sustainable Farming Fund
The Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) is a contestable fund offered each year for applied research and projects led by farmers, growers, and foresters. Find out how to apply.
Fund round dates
SFF Main 2018 – now closed for applications. We expect the next round to be held in mid-2019.
SFF Tere 2018 – opened 9 July 2018 and closes 30 June 2019 (subject to available funding).
About SFF funding
The Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) is available for applied research and projects led by farmers, growers or foresters. Projects should benefit New Zealand, and often have support from industry organisations, agribusinesses, researchers or consultants.
What makes a successful SFF application?
SFF projects should have at least 2 of the following benefits to New Zealand:
They should also:
- involve a wide range of stakeholders
- have a large number of benefactors and industry support
- provide good value for money from government investment.
SFF Tere is for smaller projects
Tere means to be quick. In 2018, MPI is providing the SFF Tere pilot to support investment in small SFF projects that:
- require less than $100,000 in funding
- will run for up to one year.
The application process for SFF Tere is different from the process for SFF funding.
Download our detailed guidance for applying or follow the steps on this web page.
- Download the SFF 2018 applicant guidelines [PDF, 723 KB]
Follow the steps
Eligible projects include:
- applied research
- technology transfer and extension
- field trials and demonstration sites.
Your project must:
- be farmer, grower, or forester led and clearly demonstrate their involvement both in the project and the project team
- be conducted in New Zealand and benefit New Zealand primary industries
- contribute at least 20% of the total project cost
- not exceed $200,000 per annum and may run for up to 3 years.
Your project isn't eligible if it:
- is capital expenditure
- is fundamental research
- benefits an individual or single business
- involves work already underway
- primarily benefits participants outside New Zealand.
Once you've checked that it's eligible, email MPI to arrange to talk to a representative about the scope of your proposed project. We'll let you know if it's a good fit for SFF and give you feedback when you've prepared your draft application, where possible.
- email email@example.com
We assess applications using the following criteria. For a better chance of success, consider each criterion before you prepare your application.
- Community of interest commitment: Is your project led by the community of interest, supported by cash and in-kind contributions? The community of interest is the group of people who need the project and would directly benefit from its delivery.
- Contribution to sustainability: How will your project contribute to economic, environmental and social sustainability? Applications must describe how the project relates to at least 2 of these 3 themes, preferably all 3.
- Problem or opportunity: For the community of interest, what is the significance of the problem or opportunity? Describe and quantify the size.
- Ability to deliver the project: What technical and project management skills and capabilities will be used in the project? Who will complete project management and the technical components. What is their background and experience in these fields?
- Adoption and extension: How will the proposed project make a difference and who to? Describe how the project outcomes and information generated will be shared with participants and the wider primary industries.
- Risk: What are the risks of the proposed project? Are the project risk levels appropriate and how can risks be mitigated?
- Value for money: What is the overall project value based on costs and potential benefits that the project will deliver?
- Innovation: What new skills, opportunities, technology or information does your project provide?
Checklist for preparing a successful application
Make sure your project:
- has an innovative idea as a solution to a problem or opportunity
- is farmer, grower or forester led and they are involved
- clearly defines a problem or opportunity and its scale
- has clear objectives, targets and desired outcomes that are achievable within a 3-year period
- has a clear extension plan of how outcomes or information generated from the project will be shared and/or adopted
- doesn't duplicate either previous or current studies within primary industries
- has the support of the contributing community.
Register to use the MPI Grants Portal
Applications are only accepted electronically through the web-based MPI Grants Portal. You will need to register first as a new user, then log in.
Complete your application
Open the MPI Grants Portal to complete your application for SFF funding.
If you need to pause while you're completing your application (for example to review what you've written), you can export it into a Word document. Your content will be saved in the application.
When you're ready to continue, return to the Grants Portal and:
- copy and paste any reviewed information into your application, or
- resume where you last left the application.
Get MPI feedback on your application
In some cases, MPI may be able to give you feedback on your draft application before you submit it.
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
How you'll know we've received your application
Once you have submitted your application in the portal, the system will:
- confirm on-screen that your application has been submitted
- send you an email confirming receipt.
How we'll assess your SFF application
We assess applications for the main SFF fund in 2 stages.
1. Eligibility and expert assessment
- MPI checks your application against the eligibility criteria. Only those that meet the criteria progress.
- MPI-appointed subject matter experts assess your application against the 8 assessment criteria.
2. Panel assessment
- A panel of external experts does a final assessment of your application. Panel members are appointed outside of MPI but are well-recognised within the primary industry sector.
Find out more
- Standard draft SFF contract template [PDF, 726 KB]
- Frequently asked questions about the SFF [PDF, 979 KB]
- Read about some of our 1,000 SFF projects
- 2018 SFF round general information [PDF, 1.7 MB]
- 2017 SFF round – projects commencing from 1 July 2018 [PDF, 282 KB]
- MPI media release on the 2017 SFF round results
Who to contact
If you have questions about the SFF:
- call 0800 00 83 33
- email email@example.com
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