Farming groups say while there are a few positives in Budget 2021 for the primary sector, overall it is disappointing.
The Government has allocated more than $50 million towards lowering agricultural emissions and developing a national farm planning system.
Funding included $37m towards national integrated farm planning system for farmers and growers, $24m towards agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation research and development; and $900,000 to collect vital statistics on agricultural production, such as greenhouse gas emissions.
Minister for Agriculture Damien O'Connor said the measures would ensure up to 40,000 farmers and growers had the tools they needed to improve on-farm performance and meet freshwater and greenhouse gas requirements by 2025.
New funding will also boost research and development in technologies to reduce agricultural emissions.
DairyNZ said it was unhappy with the funding, saying Budget 2021 was a missed opportunity.
"This is a business as usual Budget with nothing new or transformational for farmers or rural communities," DairyNZ General Manager for Responsible Dairy Jenny Cameron said.
Listen to Brian Kelly interview DairyNZ's Jenny Cameron on The Country Sport Breakfast below:
Cameron said there was "very little new funding" to help farmers improve the environment work they were already doing on-farm.
"Farmers have faced increasing regulations over the last four years – particularly when it comes to water quality, emission reductions and biodiversity. We are making great progress, but there is a lot to do."
DairyNZ was also disappointed there wasn't more investment in initiatives to help build resilience in rural communities – particularly digital connectivity, biosecurity and rural mental health.
"Covid-19 has shown how susceptible New Zealand's economy is to global shocks. We need more investment in on the ground initiatives to protect our primary sector, yet the investment in biosecurity has fallen short," Cameron said.
DairyNZ had hoped to see a substantial Government boost to fund preparedness, capability and cutting-edge technologies, Cameron said.
A $10m investment over four years for increased rural digital connectivity was "a drop in the bucket" and fell short of what was needed, Cameron said.
"Connectivity is vital for business resilience, and we have yet to see a real plan to address this."
"Rural communities desperately need more investment to connect them, and their businesses, to the world. If we want to attract and keep people in our sectors, then we need to support our rural communities with infrastructure, health, education and sports facilities."
DairyNZ was pleased with the Government's investment in the national farm planning system and training to deliver more skilled farm advisers, Cameron said.
"This is the sort of practical on the ground action that is needed."
However, while research and development funding for greenhouse gases was a positive step, it wasn't enough, Cameron said.
"Given the scale of the challenge farmers are facing, we hoped to see a greater increase in R&D funding that will help them meet obligations.
"The fact this didn't eventuate only highlights the urgent need for a clear strategy for science funding and we urge the Government to act on this."
Meanwhile Federated Farmers said the agriculture sector had bankrolled the Budget's "big spending".
Feds said Kiwi farmers should "pat themselves on the back" for making it possible for New Zealand to afford Budget 2021, despite the threat of a global pandemic.
"That's because New Zealand's internationally competitive, resilient and fleet-footed farmers and growers could roll with the Covid punches and keep this country financially afloat," Federated Farmers national president Andrew Hoggard said.
Robertson's talk of winding back the clock to undo the reforms of the '80s and '90s would "send shivers down the spines of farmers, especially the ones old enough to remember farming in those days," Hoggard said.
"The only reason farmers and growers were able to keep New Zealand out of the financial crap of last year was because we underwent the reforms of the '80s and '90s."
"Our sector is now internationally competitive, open and embracing of free trade. The 120 countries we trade with welcome our highly valued products, produced to environmental and animal welfare standards beyond what the world expects."
Feds identified a few positives in Budget 2021, around additional support for streamlining farm planning, agricultural emissions research and boosting the effectiveness of NAIT.
However, this wasn't enough, Hoggard said.
"What we really need to see from this Government is an acknowledgement that the world pays us good money for the food we produce, and we need a regulatory framework that encourages and supports us to keep doing what we do."