Regenerative farming practices projects

We're calling for proposals to investigate regenerative farming practices. Find out how to submit a proposal.

Call for proposals about regenerative farming practices

From 1 December 2020, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is calling for proposals for projects that will research regenerative farming practices.

Funding for successful proposals is available through MPI's Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) co-investment fund. 

Your proposal must demonstrate:

  • how you will develop a sound evidence base to test and confirm what works in New Zealand soils, climates, and farming systems
  • what scientific methodology you will use (for example, literature review, control sites, sample size and data collection methods such as lab tests, on-farm physical measurement, market surveys and interviews)
  • how you will communicate your findings to farmers.

What are regenerative farming practices?

How to apply

We encourage you to apply as early as possible, so that your project can be underway by mid-2021.

A panel of government and industry experts will assess your proposal.

Before you apply, you'll need to talk to us first to discuss your idea.

Eligibility criteria

MPI seeks to establish an evidence base for the effectiveness of regenerative practices that suit our soils, climate, and production systems. We want to enable widespread use of practices that will improve outcomes for:

  • our productive land
  • our freshwater and marine environments
  • the people that grow and consume our food and fibre products.

Evidence needs to be:

  • measurable
  • quantifiable
  • easily understood
  • shared freely.

Extension is an important part of any project that MPI funds. You must be able to explain how you will use your evidence to inform other farmers. This may include helping farmers adopt new ways of farming.

Outcomes we're seeking from proposals

Your application must demonstrate clear outcomes.

Examples of technical outcomes

  • Increases the resilience of our production systems to climate impacts.
  • Stabilises or increases long-term profitability.
  • Balances indigenous biodiversity and productive landscapes.
  • Maintains or increases production with less inputs, and/or reduces nutrient, pollutant, and carbon losses to the environment (a cleaner environment).
  • Increases plant health and productivity (for example, greater pasture and crop yield, including by reducing pests and weeds).
  • Improves animal health and welfare.
  • Improves water-use efficiency and retention.  
  • Quantifies and/or enhances the market potential, in New Zealand and overseas.

Examples of social outcomes

  • Assists the transition to more regenerative practices.
  • Improved farmer wellbeing and resilience.
  • Encourages groups of farmers to innovate.
  • Encourages producers, consumers, people, and the environment to connect to create vibrant rural communities.
  • Includes and recognises the Treaty of Waitangi partnership.

What are regenerative farming practices?

There is increasing interest from farmers and the wider community about regenerative agricultural practices. However, there is no agreed definition of what regenerative agriculture is.

This is an opportunity to define what regenerative agriculture means for New Zealand. Broadly speaking, MPI sees regenerative farming as a set of practices that, in isolation or collectively, may result in improved outcomes for:

  • our productive land
  • our freshwater and marine environments
  • our animals
  • the people that grow and consume our food and fibre products.

It is not a "one-size-fits-all" activity, with prescribed inputs and outputs. 

Why MPI is investigating regenerative farming practices

MPI's and the Primary Sector Council's Fit for a Better World strategy recognises the importance of Te Taiao (care for our natural world). It acknowledges the role regenerative systems play in transitioning to a more sustainable future for our food and fibres sector.

Fit for a better world strategy

Some New Zealand farmers might already consider their practices to be regenerative. It is important to find out which ones work in the New Zealand context, and what doesn't. We want to know which farming practices have a positive impact on environmental sustainability, and human health and wellbeing. We can then share these regenerative practices with farmers and industry stakeholders.

Who to contact

If you have any questions about the information on this page, email sff.futures@mpi.govt.nz

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