Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says $465,000 towards primary sector initiatives in the ‘Accelerate 25 Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan’ launched today will make a real difference to the region.
“Manawatū-Whanganui has the largest sheep flock and beef herds of any region in the country, and half of New Zealand’s lamb exports come from within two hours’ drive of Feilding. We need farming to do well to drive economic prosperity here,” says Mr Guy.
Speaking at Ross and Wendy Humphrey’s farm in Cheltenham, Mr Guy says much of the funding will be used for information sharing to lift productivity.
“Farmers learning from other farmers is crucial because we know the top 20 per cent of farmers achieve returns up to four times greater than the average.
“The Ministry for Primary Industries will work with Beef and Lamb NZ, Federated Farmers and local farmers to design and test a number of engagement models.
“There are 8-10 farmer discussion groups operating in the region involving approximately 80-100 farmers. Today I’ve set the steering group a 90 day challenge to come up with a practical strategy of lifting red meat performance in the region that can then be implemented more widely.”
Other initiatives in the plan are aimed at growing the value of primary industries while achieving good environmental outcomes.
“This is a region that has 18% of New Zealand’s Class 1 soils and 14% of its Class II soils despite comprising only 8% of New Zealand’s area.
“MPI will be working with Horizons to pilot digital mapping projects to enable land owners to make the best decisions on land use and diversification options.
“Another initiative will investigate the potential of a rural water supply scheme for irrigation and stock water in Tutaenui so the community can manage its water supply.”
MPI is also contributing to an economic evaluation of stock water reticulation in the hill country looking at 11 sheep and cattle farms, including four farms from the Manawatu-Whanganui region.
“There is also important work underway to support skills training and attract more young people into the primary sector.”
More information on the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan and the Regional Growth Programme can be found at http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/regions-cities/regional-growth-programme/manawatu-whanganui.