Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Govt to fund farm adviser training

The Government is investing $25 million in recruiting and training farm advisers to help farmers meet growing compliance requirements, but to also grow primary sector exports.

Chair Jo Finer says NZIPIM supports the initiative and is pleased the wider sector was involved in its development, which will ensure new advisers are appropriately trained.

The Government is investing $25 million in recruiting and training farm advisers to help farmers meet growing compliance requirements, but to also grow primary sector exports.

The initiative announced provides an annual grant of up to $22,500 per person for the employment or further training of advisers along with funding for a pilot internship for up to 40 people, especially students, who have experience in the advisory sector.

NZ Institute of Primary Industry Management (NZIPIM) chair Jo Finer said Government-commissioned research last year that calculated more than 100 farm advisers will be needed could be too light.

“NZIPIM believes the number is greater than this, given the amount of change on the horizon,” Finer said.

She said the organisation supports the initiative and is pleased NZIPIM and the wider sector was involved in its development, which will ensure new advisers are appropriately trained.

“Primary industry advisors play a critical role in supporting farmers with pending regulatory changes such as freshwater farm plans, so we’re very pleased to see this recognised by government,” she said.

Finer welcomes funding targeting people new to the industry.

“There are some exciting career opportunities linked to international markets and a strong economic outlook for primary production,” she said.

Her organisation will work closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to prepare promotional videos and material to attract school-leavers, graduates and those seeking a career change.

Announcing the funding, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says it will help grow primary sector exports, but also support the introduction of farm plans.

Investment will be across industry, regional councils, whenua Māori entities, communities and catchment groups to broaden and accelerate the adoption of integrated farm plans and advice.

“Priority will be given to initiatives that support Māori landowners and agribusinesses, and farmers and growers not currently undertaking farm planning,” O’Connor said.

It will also build on work already underway by MPI.

“That includes supporting at least 170 catchment groups and collating data from more than 2000 farmers and growers to provide a national snapshot of farm performance, as well as partnering with Māori to increase the productivity and profitability of their whenua,” he said.

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