Earthquake-damaged rural land use studies begin
Farmers, growers and foresters in the South Island’s earthquake- affected regions are encouraged to make use of $5000 worth of funded advisory services each, to plan how they will farm in the future.
MPI has approved at least twenty suppliers of advisory services who have specific skills to help farmers decide the best way to farm or use their damaged land in the future. Services can include long-term land use planning, farm business strategic planning, environmental plans, farm system analysis, alternate use and farm change scenarios and technical or financial advice and planning.
MPI will fund up to $5000 for each farm business to use the advisory services.
"Some of the land damage has to be seen to be believed," says MPI's Director-General Martyn Dunne. "And for some it means they simply can’t farm as they did pre-earthquake.
"The past wet winter in the regions had already caused significant erosion on fractured farmland, which not only affected usable land for grazing but also impacted on waterways, drainage, roads and fencing.
"It’s really important that farmers take the opportunity to get a chance to take stock and see what opportunities can come out of the disaster, in terms of defining how best to move forward."
The advisory service funding is part of a 2-pronged approach to help farmers analyse and plan for how best to use land which has been damaged and changed by the November 2016 earthquakes.
The second part of the fund has dedicated $3.6 million to support 8 community-led projects focused on researching future land use and land recovery in the wake of the 7.8 earthquakes.
The 8 projects are expected to significantly contribute to the region’s recovery by investigating the best approaches to land use changes. The funded projects span sheep and beef, dairy, viticulture, seafood and waterways.
"Activities will be determined by local priorities and then coordinated across the affected areas," says Phil Smith – Farmer Director, Northern South Island, Beef+Lamb NZ.
"This will allow sharing of knowledge and ideas, and observation of field trials.
Farmers will also be able pool their ERF Advisory Services funding if they want to – we see it will be more cost-effective for some farmers to take up expert advice together."
Funding for the community groups will be provided over 3 years and all projects are to share their findings and learnings with the community they are representing to ensure everyone can benefit as the region recovers.
Farmers with questions about the funding can contact MPI on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0800 00 83 33.
Free, confidential support for rural people is always available from your local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP).