Extension Services programme for farmers

Extension Services funds farmer-led projects to help farmers make decisions that support sustainable land use and improve economic, environmental, and farmer wellbeing in rural communities. Find out about the programme.

About the programme

Through Extension Services, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) funds farmer-led projects to help farmers transition to more sustainable land use. Extension projects provide farmers the opportunity to learn from one another and use specialist advice to make decisions that will improve their environmental and economic resilience and improve overall wellbeing in their communities.

Extension Services helps primary producers to:

  • access knowledge, expertise, and tools to support sustainable land management decisions
  • improve peer-to-peer and cross-sector learning opportunities that support on-farm decision-making and build community cohesion
  • find out about other investment opportunities that could complement their own efforts.

Extension Services is supporting the Fit for a better world roadmap and the improvement of on-farm performance allowing farmers to get greater value from their farm land and improve their sustainability.

Read more about the fit for a better world roadmap

Projects funded to date

Extension Services has funded projects across New Zealand.

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Thriving Southland Change and Innovation Project

Thriving Southland Inc is a community-led group that supports farmers in the region during a time of significant change. The Change and Innovation Project encourages collaboration among primary industries, councils, and central government, with oversight from a board of mainly local farmers. It aims to help Southland farmers and communities improve environmental outcomes while supporting the economy and community cohesion.

Across the 23 catchments, the Project is delivering catchment-based activities and events showcasing innovation, good practice, and celebrating success. Scientific projects are also being developed to fill knowledge gaps that farmers have identified. This includes the Southland Science Report which has brought together all the data and science on Southland’s land, soil, and water to help farmers make more informed land-use decisions.

The Project has also established a monitoring and evaluation function to provide insights and reflect on the impact of the investment.

Find out more

Thriving Southland

The Southland Science Report

King Country River Care

King Country River Care is a farmer-led project funded by MPI to improve freshwater quality, farming practices, and community resilience in the Waikato. The project involves over 300 King Country sheep, beef, and dairy farmers. Eight sub-catchment groups are now operating, and 16 workshops have been held to support the development of over 60 farm environment plans.

MPI is investing $844,000 into the project over 3 years, and is working alongside the Waikato Regional Council, industry bodies, and farm consultancies to ensure the project is a success.

In August 2020, King Country River Care also signed a $1.991 million partnership with MPI’s One Billion Trees programme. This will promote fencing and planting activities for farmers and demonstrates how different MPI funds can work together to support farmers.

Find out more

Govt supports King Country farmers to lift freshwater quality – Beehive

Quorum Sense regenerative agriculture extension

The Quorum Sense Project supports farmers to share knowledge about developing and implementing regenerative agriculture systems. This Project is being led by an experienced group of regenerative farmers as part of the Quorum Sense Charitable Trust, with support from scientists and advisers.

MPI is investing $1.87 million into the Quorum Sense Project to increase farmers’ awareness and understanding of regenerative agriculture systems. The Project will boost knowledge through a mix of events and resources, including field days and online communication.

Alongside the project, MPI has established a technical advisory group to advise the Ministry on regenerative agriculture. The group will guide the Ministry on the regenerative agriculture investment and research. The Quorum Sense project is one of several that will provide information to the technical advisory group in support of their work.

Find out more

Quorum Sense

New Zealand Landcare Trust

The New Zealand Landcare Trust is a charitable organisation that works with primary producers to encourage and support sustainable land use through effective catchment management. The Trust supports 75 catchment groups across New Zealand.  

MPI is providing $3 million of funding over 3 years to help the trust employ up to 7 new catchment coordinators. These coordinators support the development and activities of more catchment groups across the country, helping them to boost sustainable farming practices and improve environmental outcomes.

Additional funding has also enabled the Trust to:

  • create catchment group maps and information databases, including resources to help farmers understand how to reduce sedimentation into waterways
  • set up a calendar of good management practice events for each region to allow farmers to come together and learn about sustainable farming practices
  • establish an online forum to ensure farmers can stay connected and share knowledge across the regions.

Find out more

New Zealand Landcare Trust

Future Hurunui

The Hurunui District Landcare Group is a catchment group set up to facilitate and promote good farming practices. MPI is investing $2.9 million to support the Future Hurunui project to assist the region’s dryland farmers in meeting regulatory requirements while protecting and enhancing the environment and their businesses.

The project has brought in technical experts and employed three catchment farm advisers to help farmers learn about developing detailed farm environment plans, environmental challenges and opportunities, and other topics of interest. This will help farmers build confidence and knowledge to overcome challenges and improve economic, environmental, and wellbeing outcomes in the community.

Find out more

Hurunui District Landcare Group

Find out more

Find out more about the Productive and Sustainable Land Use package, including the work MPI is doing to help achieve the government's goals for freshwater, climate change, and land-based sectors. 

Productive and Sustainable Land Use

Māori Agribusiness Extension helps Māori land trustees and agribusinesses connect with others with common goals and interests to get the most out of their land.

Māori Agribusiness Extension

Fit for a better world is the Government’s roadmap for the primary sector which sets out actions to accelerate the productivity, sustainability, and inclusiveness of the primary sector.

Fit for a better world [PDF, 2.1 MB]

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