Sustainable Farming Fund

The Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) invests in applied research and projects led by farmers, growers, or foresters. Find out more about the fund and how to apply.

Funding from the grass-roots up

The SFF funds 'communities of interest' to do applied research and extension projects that tackle a shared problem or develop a new opportunity. 

Applicants can apply for up to $200,000 a year for a maximum of 3 years. The maximum total grant available 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.

Funding rounds

2017/18 funding round

The 2017/18 Sustainable Farming Fund round for projects starting from 1 July 2017 closed on 8 September 2016. Seventy-six eligible applications were received, requesting over $21 million. 

This year, MPI has approved 20 new projects for funding, totalling $6.64 million. The approved projects will provide benefits across a range of primary sectors including apiary, aquaculture, arable, forestry, horticulture, dairy, fibre, meat and water. 

Who to contact

If you have any questions about the funding round, call 0800 00 83 33 or email

Find out more

Extension programme handbook available

MPI's handbook Over the Fence provides guidance and useful tips for anyone planning an extension programme:

  • within the primary industries
  • as part of a Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) project.

The handbook provides practical guidance on how to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate a successful extension programme. It covers topics such as barriers to making change and how to select the right extension activities for specific audiences.

Over the Fence features a number of case studies from past SFF projects and resources, including:

  • a team-building checklist
  • an overview of different delivery options
  • quick tips for getting your programme started.

Framework included to help build overall strategy

The handbook includes an MPI-developed extension framework. The framework will help you develop a strategy for your extension programme.

  • It shows how research, development and extension processes work together to support innovation and high performance in the primary industries.
  • It provides a tool for helping to identify effective support activities.

One of the approaches in the extension framework is co-innovation.  Co-Innovation is a way to help solve some of the complex challenges facing the primary industries. It involves significant collaboration between key stakeholders to research, develop and implement fit-for-purpose solutions. 

Download the Over the Fence handbook [PDF, 3 MB]

Funded project information and publications

Download publications outlining the SFF fund:

Evaluation of the fund

MPI contracted the Kinnect Group to do an evaluation of the SFF during 2013. The evaluation was a formal, independent assessment confirming the SFF's value. It also helped ensure the SFF was well-positioned for the future by aligning it more closely with Government objectives. Read Kinnect's reports:

Who to contact

If you need more information, email

Last reviewed: | Has this been useful? Give us your feedback
Document cart