1 Nov 2011

Fish and Game welcomes new future farming centre

5:22 pm on 1 November 2011

Fish and Game New Zealand has applauded the establishment of a Future Farming Centre at Lincoln University.

The centre has been launched by the Biological Husbandry Unit, a trust run as a joint venture between Lincoln and the organic movement.

It will operate as a science and extension centre for what it calls permanent agricultural and horticultural systems such as organics and biological farming.

The centre is headed by Dr Charles Merfield, who says the reasoning behind it is the need to find a balance between producing maximum yields to feed an increasing world population and ensuring the long-term survival of agriculture.

That message has gone down well with Fish and Game's chief executive, Bryce Johnson, a persistent critic of the environmental impact of intensive dairy farming.

He says Fish and Game had earlier suggested to Lincoln they set up a chair in environmentally sustainable agriculture and the organisation supports this initiative.

Mr Johnson applauds the fact that the research will take a long-term view.

"There's some real opportunities here to put a pretty solid backbone behind the ecological integrity of farming......it's where the markets are obviously going and we're totally supportive of that."

Mr Johnson says the biggest challenge for a small research and extension unit like the Lincoln one will be finding the money to get the message out so that it is heard by everyone in agriculture and not just the current farming leadership.