Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has received a $390,000 funding boost from the Ministry for Primary Industries for its research into the global market potential of regenerative agriculture.
The research would focus on consumers, industry and experts in key red meat and wine export markets (the US, UK and Germany).
It would also explore local attitudes toward regenerative agriculture among farmers, processors, winegrowers and others to understand their views on its potential, and how it could be incorporated within New Zealand's existing value chain.
A massive global surge in interest in regenerative agriculture had occurred in the last couple of years, B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor said.
"Major multinationals like Danone and General Mills were exploring the marketing of regeneratively-produced products."
The research would provide the sheep, beef and wine sectors, as well as the wider food and fibres sectors, the first large-scale, evidence-based picture of the potential market upsides, (or downsides), of regenerative agriculture, McIvor said.
While there were diverse views around what regenerative agriculture actually involved, many people believed Kiwi farmers were already applying some of those principles in management practices, like rotational grazing, McIvor said.
"However, it's critical we understand what consumers think and how influential players are acting."
"Understanding these factors helps us to better understand potential demand, and whether there are opportunities for New Zealand to leverage it. We want to get ahead of any opportunities so farmers, and now winegrowers too, can be best placed to take advantage of them."
MPI was the majority funder of the research through its Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund.
"Regenerative agriculture is receiving a lot of attention lately," Director Investment Programmes at MPI, Steve Penno said.
"This research will provide valuable insights into what consumers think regenerative agriculture is, and whether they're willing to pay a premium for products that are produced using regenerative practices."
Results from the research was expected in early 2021 and would be shared across the red meat and wine sectors.