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NZFFA – Media Release, January 22nd 2015.

Trees on Farms SFF project winds up

The Trees on Farms Workshops Project, a major MPI Sustainable Farming Fund project which was managed by the NZ Farm Forestry Association, is complete.

The highly successful project included the delivery of some 26 workshops throughout New Zealand, and also produced the following outputs:

1. Farm forester videos

A total of 68 on-farm videos were made. These short videos feature farm foresters from all parts of New Zealand, filmed on their properties and describing their plantings and the roles trees play in sustainable land-use and in their farming businesses. The videos can all be viewed on the NZFFA website; they can be searched by farm type and by region.

2. Special topic videos

In addition, four videos were made focusing on topics of particular importance:

  • Trees for Shade and Shelter
  • Trees for Soil Conservation
  • Returns from Harvesting
  • Using Timber from Trees on Farms
Where to find the videos

The videos form a great practical learning resource, with lots of down-to-earth information and guidance. They can all be found on the NZFFA website:

The videos are also available as a box-set of DVDs (for viewing on home TVs, for example). These can be purchased or loaned from the NZFFA National Office.

3. Running successful farm forestry events: Guidelines for organisers

The Trees on Farms project also involved running 26 workshops, and lessons from this experience have been summarised in an attractive set of guidelines which will be of use to anyone involved in running a rural event such as a field day or workshop. The guidelines cover four key stages of running successful events:

- Planning
- Preparation
- Implementation
- Follow-up

The guidelines are available as a pdf and can be downloaded from the events page of NZFFA website:


The project was funded by the MPI Sustainable Farming Fund, with support from the NZFFA National Office, NZFFA branches and Special Interest Groups and the Neil Barr Farm Forestry Foundation. AgFirst and Tanes Tree Trust were major sponsors. Other supporters were Rural Women NZ, NZ Young Farmers, Landcare Trust, and the following regional/district councils: Bay of Plenty, Horizons, Taranaki, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Waikato, Marlborough, Southland.
Thanks go to all those who contributed to the Trees on Farms videos and workshops.

Contact for more details

For more information about the Trees on Farms SFF project – videos, workshops, event guidelines –or the NZFFA in general, contact:
Harriet Palmer (Trees on Farms Project Manager) 021 02532529,
Glenn Tims
NZFFA National Manager
04 472 0432,

Trees on Farms: MPI Sustainable Farming Fund project 11/047 More information for media

The Trees on Farms project focused on providing landowners with ideas about the use of trees on farms to enhance sustainable land use. It was aimed particularly at ‘non-farm foresters’ – i.e. farmers and other landowners who are not active tree planters, and do not currently see trees as an integral part of their land use.

There were two key elements to the project:

  1. Filming short videos of experienced farm foresters from throughout New Zealand. These videos feature farm foresters describing how they integrate trees into their farming businesses or other land uses
  2. Running a nationwide series of one-day workshops, hosted by local branches of the NZFFA, and widely advertised to attract as diverse an audience as possible.


A total of 26 workshops were held, 13 in the North Island including one hui in the Bay of Plenty, and 13 in the South Island. The total number of participants recorded was an impressive 1224, with an approximate two thirds:one third split between the North and South Islands. Around 50% of those attending were non- NZFFA members, indicating that the workshops were successful in communicating with a new group of people rather than just existing members of the NZFFA.

Evaluating the project

Following the later workshops we contacted participants and asked them asked to complete an electronic survey. The survey was to evaluate the workshop they attended, and also to find out about their plans for future farm forestry activities and needs for information and training.

Feedback on the workshops was very positive: people were happy with the format and content of the workshops, and over 75% of respondents said they would apply some of what they learnt: examples include general objectives like ‘long term planning for more marginal parts of the farm’, and ‘plant more trees’ to more specific objectives like ‘planting more totara’, ‘tree selection for a piece of regenerating bush’, and ‘I’m looking to see where I might put some kawa poplars’.

We asked participants about the topics they would like to have more information on in future; the following topics all scored highly:

  • Trees to enhance the living and working environment
  • Trees for timber - income, super-annuation, farm succession
  • Trees for nutrient management – riparian planting, wetlands etc
  • Trees for soil erosion control
  • Trees for animal welfare – shelter, shade and fodder
  • Trees to enhance birdlife and biodiversity
  • Trees for bees

Other related NZFFA resources

As part of an earlier Sustainable Farming Fund project, the NZFFA has compiled a list of farm forestry ‘Places to Visit’. These are top farm forestry properties all around New Zealand, where the owners are happy to welcome interested growers or would-be growers onto their properties and show them their plantings.

Many of the properties are award winners, and the list can be searched by region or by what is on show.

Places to visit

Where to now for Trees on Farms initiatives?

The ToF workshops revealed a growing interest in using trees to create animal and environmentally-friendly production environments, especially on intensively managed farms. Interest in trees is being driven by markets that are increasingly demanding ‘green tick’ products. The pressure on farmers is coming from marketing organisations such as Fonterra, industry umbrella organisations such as NZ Beef and Lamb and Dairy NZ, and also via regulatory authorities such as regional councils, who are primarily concerned with water quality, soil conservation and associated biodiversity.

The Animal Welfare Amendment Act, currently being updated, will put more teeth into the enforcement of animal welfare on farms. This could well see greater emphasis on the use of trees for livestock shade and shelter.

The NZFFA and its members are the main source of expertise about trees on farms; the new forestry commodity levy may increase the NZFFA’s capacity to extend its information transfer activities in the medium term. Thanks in part to an ever-growing number of completed Sustainable Farming Fund projects, the NZFFA is now keeper of an impressive collection of information and education resources. As well as the aforementioned videos, we also have the ‘Places to visit, people to meet’ database – a regionally-based list of farm foresters who have volunteered to open their gates to anyone who wants to visit their property and see trees on the ground.

In summary, there is little doubt that trees have a great future on farmland, and today there is increasing interest in realising that potential. The challenge lies in supplying the tree information needed to ensure that the right species is well established on the right site. The Trees on Farms project has made good steps in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go.


Major sponsors were the NZFFA National Office, NZFFA branches and special interest groups, the Neil Barr Farm Forestry Foundation, Tane’s Tree Trust, and AgFirst agricultural consultants. Numerous other organisations and regional authorities provided cash and in-kind support.

The project drew on the expertise and goodwill of farm foresters, land management staff of regional councils, agricultural consultants, scientists, nurserymen, forestry consultants and practitioners, and others. Many people joined the project team to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for trees.

The ‘Trees on Farms team’ latterly comprised NZFFA members Angus Gordon, Harriet Palmer and Nick Ledgard, ably supported by Bruce Bulloch and Glenn Tims at NZFFA National Office and Louise Askin at MPI.

We are extremely grateful to everyone within the NZFFA and beyond who contributed to the project, and made it such an enjoyable and, we hope worthwhile, initiative.

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