Agriculture and Forestry Minister David Carter has announced the first allocation of funding from the Primary Growth Partnership.
The partnership, which was launched last year, aims to invest up to $140 million per year in primary sector growth and innovation.
The Foundation for Arable Research, the Forest Owners Association and New Zealand Merino Company will collectively receive $20 million over the next five to seven years.
Mr Carter says the money will be used for research projects to harvest trees on steep hill country, produce grasses with natural deterrents in them to keep birds away from airports and parks, and to expand the merino industry.
Long term, he says the projects should provide millions of dollars of benefit for the New Zealand economy.