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Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Associate Minister Louise Upston have tonight celebrated the 1000th Sustainable Farming Fund project, and awarded two Emerging Leaders scholarships at an event kicking off National Fieldays.

“The Sustainable Farming Fund supports the primary sector’s own forward thinking and kiwi ingenuity - which in turn helps keeps New Zealand ahead of the game,” says Mr Guy. 

“1000 projects have now been funded since the fund was initiated in 2000. This represents around $150 million in government funding alongside a significant level of sector support.

“The fund has supported projects as diverse as reducing nutrient run off on lowland farms, reducing use of antimicrobials when managing mastitis, and increasing the market share for New Zealand olive oil,” Mr Guy says.

Ms Upston says much of the success of the fund is due to its grass-roots nature.

“Each project brings together farmers, growers and foresters to work alongside scientists and researchers to solve a problem or seize an opportunity. The fund recognises that those closest to the problem or opportunity have a unique insight into how it could be addressed and how to best influence their peers’ behaviour.”

Alongside the announcement was the launch of a commemorative booklet which spotlights 33 projects from across all 17 years of the fund - available on the MPI website. 

Ministers also announced the announced the winners of this year’s Emerging Primary Industries Leaders Scholarship - Julia Jones of KPMG and Jason Te Brake of Miraka.

“This scholarship recognises the importance of promoting strong leadership within the primary industries. It encourages those who have shown a commitment to the primary industries and have the potential to help guide the sector in the future,” Mr Guy says.

The winners will attend the Te Hono Stanford Bootcamp - a week-long programme held at Stanford University in California, USA. The boot camp is mainly for chief executives or people who hold senior governance roles within the primary sector.

Ms Upston says Te Hono Stanford Bootcamp is an opportunity for primary industry leaders to think about and test various ways to build the sector.

“For the scholarship recipients, the boot camp will be a unique chance to build networks with sector leaders and contribute to the future direction of New Zealand’s primary industries,” she says.

The Emerging Primary Industries Leaders Scholarship is now in its second year, and is supported by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), AGMARDT (the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust) and Te Hono.

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