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Profit And Environmental Rewards From Trees On The Farm

There is a huge opportunity for a fresh approach to integrating trees and forests into the farm business to maintain and support current farm operations, say Waikato Regional Council sustainable ag advisors.

This can help meet new environmental requirements while generating additional farm income, and there is access to funding support for this approach.

It is far from being a new idea, says Waikato Regional Council’s technical sustainable ag advisor Bala Tikkisetty. But to get the ball rolling again, the region’s farmers will try their hand at putting trees in the right places in a new workshop courtesy of Waikato Regional Council.

Presenters Peter Handford and John-Paul Praat of Groundtruth Ltd are seasoned farm and forestry consultants, with a long history of fitting farming, forestry and ecology together in ways that maximise gains on all fronts.

Two dates have been set for the workshop – the first is on Thursday next week (5 November) in Karāpiro and the next on Wednesday, 17 February 2021 in Te Kūiti.

The workshop will involve a presentation on the relevant regulations and economic factors, followed by participants collaborating on real-life case study farms – working out which areas are best suited to food production, which could deliver good returns in forestry, and how to make sure water quality requirements are met or exceeded in the process.

The funding incentives around carbon sequestration will be explored and clarified as well, leaving participants with a full view of the potential wins to be had by moving proactively into an integrated land management model.

The benefits that can be gained in terms of soil and water protection, income diversification, biodiversity and overall environmental performance will be addressed in the context of working farms. Details covered will range from fencing and access placement, to riparian planting options, to local and national regulations and how to approach funding applications.

“Concerns over increasing environmental compliance costs are top of the list in farm discussions. At the same time there is growing apprehension as forestry seems to be rolling across the farm landscape and displacing farm communities,” says Mr Tikkisetty.

“What is missed in this discussion is that farms and forestry are not mutually exclusive.

“This is an opportunity for farmers and environmentally concerned people alike to grab the bull by the horns and focus on the positive options in a field that can be polarised,” says Mr Tikkisetty.

“There are resources and incentives available, and this workshop is an opportunity to find out how to make them work for you.”

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