National Farmers Federation (NFF) President, Ms Fiona Simson, has delivered a keynote speech to an Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) event in Canberra this month, in which she outlined the benefits of farm forestry and how both the forestry and farming sectors should work together on the issue.

The forest industry’s partnership with the NFF towards an historic farm forestry policy framework has the potential to transform both industries and create thousands of jobs across regional Australia, AFPA Chair Mr Greg McCormack said today.

“Fiona Simson outlined that the NFF is keen to work with forest industries to develop ways for farmers to better incorporate elements of forestry into their operations. Ms Simson described farm forestry as a win win for both farmers and foresters and we heartily agree,” Mr McCormack said.

“The forestry sector believes farm forestry is part of the solution to increase the size of Australia’s total plantation estate. However, we know we have not always done all we could to make the partnership work and ensure a long term positive for the farmer – both in terms of the timber income and the added productivity which trees bring to the principal farming enterprise,” Mr McCormack concluded.

“The NFF is pleased to be working with AFPA on a rejuvenated quest to see farm forestry tree plantings become a larger part of our farm landscape,” Ms Simson said.

“Farmers more than anyone, appreciate the benefits of having trees in the farm environment. Wood supply from small landholders has a long and successful history in other parts of the world like New Zealand and Scandinavia, so there’s no reason we can’t better develop our efforts in Australia.

“The NFF joins with AFPA in calling for $1 million in seed funding for the establishment of farm forestry co-operative development as well as removal of rainfall restrictions for the existing Emissions Reduction Fund farm forestry method, which limits farm forestry to 100ha where rainfall is 400mm or more. This is currently a major impediment,” Ms Simson concluded.

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