Landcorp is to sponsor the Ahuwhenua Trophy, which recognises excellence in Maori dairy and sheep and beef farming.
A National Government will direct Landcorp to lease these farms to young farmers, and give them the opportunity to buy them at market rates when they have built up enough capital.
Primary Industries spokesperson Nathan Guy says the Government owns a large number of commercial farms through Landcorp, but there is no clear public good coming from Crown ownership and little financial return to taxpayers.
“We think that some of these farms are better off in the hands of hard working young farming families who are committed to modern farming and environmental best practice.
“Many farming families got their start through the old Land and Survey ballot process and we want to give that opportunity to more New Zealanders.
“This is a win-win policy that will help more young Kiwis into farming, and put taxpayer money from the sales towards things they care about,” Guy says.Guy expects around 100 young farming families to benefit from the programme.
The farms will be awarded on a lease-to-buy arrangement, with leases awarded by a panel and ballot, and prioritised towards young farmers who have experience at running a farming operation, and have not already had sole ownership of one before.
The leasee will be required to work the farm continuously themselves for at least five years before being able to purchase it, or longer if they need more time to build up capital.
Not all of Landcorp’s 150 farms will be sold. Many are subject to Treaty claims and others have a right-of-first-refusal for Iwi – and these rights will of course be respected. Some of Landcorp’s larger farms will be divided into smaller units more appropriate for first-time owners
“National is committed to working with our farmers to tackle environmental challenges and to encourage sustainable farming practices to mitigate the impacts of farming on the environment,” Guy says.
“We are making real progress, much of that driven by a new generation of young farmers. To build on that farmers wanting to buy these Landcorp farmers will have to demonstrate a commitment to sustainable farming methods, and outline their plans to continue to do so.”