In a move set to revolutionise pastoral farming, the T.R. Ellett Agricultural Research Trust has burst onto the digital scene with the grand launch of its cutting-edge website and funding portal at the 2023 Grasslands Conference in Rotorua. With a storied history spanning over four decades, this trust, founded by the visionary dairy farmer Trevor Ellett, is amplifying its impact on New Zealand agriculture.
A trailblazer in the dairy world, Ellett not only left an indelible mark on the sector but also cultivated a legacy through the discovery of groundbreaking ryegrass cultivars. The seeds of many ryegrass varieties popularised during the 80s and 90s owe their genetic prowess to Trevor’s Mangere farm.
But this isn't just a nod to history; it's a leap into the future. The Trust, long known for silently backing vital research projects and scholarships, is now thrusting itself into the limelight with a dynamic online presence. The goal? To supercharge its contribution to New Zealand's primary sector and explore novel ways of fostering sustainability in agriculture.
The Trust is currently flexing its financial muscles at Massey University, funding two teaching positions – a senior lecturer and a lecturer in grassland science. This injection of support aims to turbocharge the university's prowess in grassland research and teaching, acting as a vital bridge between the farming community and scientific advancements.
Trustee Grant Wills, with a nod to Trevor's practical approach, emphasises the importance of tangible outcomes.
"We’re very keen on developing all of this research for the benefit of New Zealand agriculture," he said.
"The important thing is to get this applied on-farm."
The commitment to the next generation of agricultural leaders remains unyielding. The Trust will continue funding scholarships for students, with applications funnelled through Massey and Lincoln Universities.
Recent projects basking in the Trust's financial glow include the Northland Diversified Forages Project, the Agyields database, and the Pasture Persistence Trial. Each initiative pulsates with the essence of Trevor's practical spirit, aiming not just for academic acclaim but tangible on-farm impact.
Now, the Trust opens its coffers with arms wide open. Farmers, researchers, and organizations alike can tap into their bounty through three tantalising categories.
Grants of Under $10,000: Perfect for those germinating small yet impactful ideas.
Larger Research Projects/Co-funding Over $10,000: For those with ambitions as vast as New Zealand's landscapes.
Partnerships: An open invitation for organizations keen on aligning their stars with the Trust's, whether for a one-off rendezvous or a lasting affair.
As the T.R. Ellett Agricultural Research Trust steps into the digital age, it's not just about preserving the legacy; it's about ploughing ahead into an era where innovation meets application, where research germinates on the farm, and where the past converges with the future for a bountiful harvest of progress.
Applications for the first round of funding close at the end of February 2024.