Applications to the Ministry for Primary Industries' Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) open today, with $7 million available for applied research projects led by the primary sector that help boost rural communities, our economy and the sustainability of our environment.
"SFF aims to bring together farmers, growers and foresters to work alongside scientists and researchers to solve a problem or seize an opportunity," says Justine Gilliland, MPI's Director of Investment Programmes. "The fund is based on the philosophy that those closest to the problem or opportunity are best placed to understand how it can be dealt with and how to get buy-in from their industry and community.
"The fund has been operating since 2000 and projects have come from across the country and all parts of the primary sector. Recently we marked the 1000th SFF project with the 1,000 Projects and Counting booklet [PDF, 4.6 MB], which is available on our website. Projects funded include restoring local environments, fighting pests, researching and promoting best practice, applying new technologies, developing new food opportunities, and facilitating education and training programmes."
Applicants can apply for up to $200,000 a year for a maximum of 3 years. The maximum total grant available from MPI is $600,000. Projects require a non-government funding contribution of at least 20%. Most successful projects are able to leverage a high proportion of other funding or in-kind support to complement the SFF grant.
"Each year we receive a very high calibre of project applications. This year we are encouraging applications that showcase new and innovative approaches to addressing problems and opportunities in the primary industries" says Justine Gilliland.
We welcome any groups keen to tackle a shared problem or develop a new opportunity related to the primary industries to apply for the fund. Anyone interested in applying should contact an MPI investment adviser to discuss their ideas as soon as possible."
Applications close on 14 September 2017 for projects beginning 1 July 2018. Feedback will be given on ideas and draft applications until 31 August 2017.