Applications called for Greenhouse Gas Inventory Research Fund grants

The funding round for the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI’s) 2021 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Research Fund is now open, with $1.1 million available for new projects in the 2021/22 financial year.

Steve Penno, MPI’s director of investment programmes, says the fund provides funding for new research projects that aim to improve the Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Inventory, which compiles and calculates greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture in New Zealand.

“The inventory is an important tool in enabling New Zealand’s reporting to the New Zealand Greenhouse Gas Inventory and the United Nations under the Paris Climate Agreement,” says Mr Penno.

“It also informs policy decisions, improves the accuracy of our inventory, and helps our agriculture and forestry sectors to manage their greenhouse gas emissions.

“It also supports the development of land-use projections, including afforestation and deforestation.

“With emissions from the agricultural sector making up around half of New Zealand’s gross emissions it’s essential that we continue to effectively measure our emissions, so we can seek ways to tackle them.”

Priorities for the 2021 funding round are:

  • methane
  • modelling and data
  • sequestration, land use and land-use emissions
  • reviews and updates to existing Inventory items
  • projections and targets
  • policy-driven research
  • nitrous oxide (N2O).

Applications close on 19 July 2021. More information is available on MPI’s website.

Source:  Ministry for Primary Industries

New food technology brings vegetables centre stage with govt funding

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is enabling New Zealand to tap into the growing market for plant-based products, where vegetables feature as a ‘centre of the plate’ item.

A diverse range of new processed vegetable products is now available on the market, thanks to $147,000 investment from the ministry’s Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund. More innovation is under way.

The two-year project led by Food Nation, which was launched in mid-2019, aimed to develop a range of plant-based ‘meat alternative’ foods using mushroom seconds and an array of other more novel plants.

One year on, it has made some exciting progress. Continue reading

Sustainably produced beef patties aimed to become new normal

It’s possible to produce a beef patty sustainably across the supply chain in New Zealand, a year-long trial has shown.

Key players in the red meat industry partnered with the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI’s) Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund to develop a model for producing independently verified sustainable beef through the entire supply chain. The project aimed to help meet the growing demand for ethically sourced and sustainable products.

“The project showed that New Zealand can do this, and the model can be scaled up – so this really is an encouraging milestone,” says Steve Penno, MPI’s director investment programmes. “It provides transparency to customers and the public in a way that hasn’t been possible before.”

The trial used the McDonald’s supply chain as a test case. Six farms, processing companies ANZCO Foods, Greenlea, Silver Fern Farms (comprising 50% of New Zealand’s beef industry), and Beef+Lamb New Zealand collaborated to work out how to meet sustainability requirements. Continue reading

MPI calls for proposals to research regenerative farming practices

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is calling for proposals for projects that will investigate regenerative farming practices.

Funding for successful proposals is available through the Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) co-investment fund. The fund aims to have projects underway by mid-2021.

“There is increasing interest from farmers and the wider community about regenerative agricultural practices, but definitions for regenerative agriculture can vary dramatically,” says Steve Penno, MPI’s director investment programmes.

“We’re looking to define what regenerative agriculture means from a New Zealand perspective, and develop a sound evidence base to test and confirm what works in our soils, climates, and farming systems.” Continue reading

Regional vet graduates to receive financial boost from bonding scheme

Thirty graduate vets will receive a financial boost from the Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians to help ease the shortage of veterinarians working with production animals in the regions, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced today.

Since it began 11 years ago, the ministry’s Voluntary Bonding Scheme for Veterinarians had made a huge difference in attracting graduate vets to rural areas that were traditionally challenging to staff, says Steve Penno, director investment programmes at MPI. Continue reading

Dairy industry receives boost with $25 million sustainable innovation programme

A new $25.68 million innovation programme for New Zealand’s dairy industry will drive improvements in the health and wellbeing of the national dairy herd and be a step-change in sustainable milk production.  

The seven-year programme, called Resilient Dairy: Innovative Breeding for a Sustainable Future, launched today and is being led by farmer-owned herd improvement co-operative Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) with investment and support from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and DairyNZ.

It will invest in new disease management technologies and advancements in genomic science to improve cow productivity, and produce better cows with improved health, well-being, and environmental resilience.

The programme was officially launched at the National Fieldays today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.
Continue reading

Review finds New Zealand a world leader in climate change research

A government research programme has positioned New Zealand as a world-leader in research into mitigating greenhouse gases from agriculture and adapting to climate change, a recent independent review has found.

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI’s) Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change (SLMACC) research programme supports the generation of new climate change knowledge across New Zealand’s agriculture and forestry sectors.

The independent review found SLMACC has triggered new research, and boosted New Zealand’s understanding of the potential impacts and implications of climate change for a range of primary industries, particularly pastoral farming systems and responding to drought.

“Climate change affects every one of New Zealand’s land-based producers, from farmers, growers and foresters, to the communities that support them,” says Steve Penno, Director Investment Programmes at MPI.

“New Zealand relies heavily on its natural environment and the primary production it supports. A warming planet poses challenges and unknowns, so it’s vital to invest in research to better understand the land-based sector’s future operating environment and, importantly, how a country like ours must adapt.

“SLMACC has contributed heavily towards growing this understanding and enhancing the science capability needed.”

The review found the programme is creating high-quality research, engaging stakeholders and end-users, growing climate change science capability in New Zealand, enabling international collaborations and supporting researchers early in their careers to build their capability and experience.

Several other SLMACC benefits were supported by the review, such as building more accurate knowledge about long-term carbon storage in our forests and providing resources to increase awareness of climate change and practical options for use on-farm.

The SLMACC research programme recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary, marking an investment of around $50 million in more than 150 targeted basic, applied and policy research projects. A number of its projects are showcased in Investing in tomorrow, a booklet released in September 2018.

Investing in tomorrow and copies of the review reports (including a summary of findings) are available on the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change web page at

Source:  Ministry for Primary Industries