Crown Forestry offers farmers deal

Wednesday 14 Feb 2018

Crown Forestry offering farmers deal to plant pines - Crown Forestry is chasing unproductive farmland suitable for commercial planting of pinus radiata to help it meet the government's one billion trees program.

The 10-year target will require new planting to cover 500,000 hectares.

Farmers and other landowners with at least 200ha to spare are being asked by Crown Forestry, a business unit of the Ministry for Primary Industries, to consider the offer.

Land owners are being offered a lease or joint-venture option with Crown Forestry paying all establishment and management costs, paying rent to the land owner and allowing any carbon credits to be retained.

The land would need to pass a few other tests, such as being reasonably fertile, have easy access and be identified as suitable for production forestry.

Warwick Foran from Crown Forestry said the figure of a minimum of 200ha per block came out of its experience in managing leases.

"Commercial forestry is impacted by scale - bigger areas give you better returns."

It is hard to say just how much land fits the criteria, he said.

"Studies show that there is a fair bit of marginal sheep and beef country that is eminently suited to forestry."

When carbon returns are added in forestry stacks up as pretty good land use, he said.

"When putting out the call we have, so far 30 or 40 people have come to us with fairly large blocks."

Mr Foran said primarily it will have to be farmland that is used for the massive tree planting scheme.

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Source: RNZ

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