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Farm forestry timbers - Local timbers for local markets

Dean Satchell, New Zealand Tree Grower August 2011.

When it comes to growing special purpose timber species, in every part of the country I hear the same things − Can we sell our logs? Is there a market for our timber?

The NZFFA has until now been primarily a grower’s organisation. However, as significant volumes of alternative species reach maturity, we may need to be more than growers and become involved in the next steps of harvesting, marketing and market development. With this in mind the NZFFA has won a small Sustainable Farming Fund grant to establish a market place for specialty timbers. The market place will consist of an online information resource, a user-maintained online trading desk and an industry body called Farm Forestry Timbers.

The information resource

The market place will provide the information necessary to convert logs into quality, marketable sawn timber. Growers will have the opportunity to add value to logs and contribute to the available sawn resource, or sell logs to entrepreneurs who will. Information will be provided on the qualities and uses of each specialty species and how to ensure timber makes the grade.

Regular email newsletters will go out to anyone who subscribes to the service, including engineers, architects and specifiers, encouraging them to visit the web site, the primary port of call for trading specialty timbers. The idea is to connect all the links in the value chain through a community of like-minded individuals.

Farm Forestry Timbers will be run as an action group under the NZFFA, with members and a committee. An online forum will be provided for debate and discussion so members can contribute to policy. This is important because not only would the group oversee the market place and how it is run, but would also represent industry interests and lobby on issues such as the building code.

Timber showcase

The online pictorial timber showcase will illustrate and promote points of difference and appropriate uses for each specialty timber. This advertorial section will link directly to the online NZFFA market place.

Farm foresters with good photographs of their specialty timbers should contact me, as should those interested in joining the group. We hope to be up and running early in 2012.

A stool made from Eucalyptus saligna
Eucalyptus fastigata floor
A blackwood chopping board
Carved totara on Tokitahi wharenui – Piri ki te Paatu marae
A door and dresser made from kawa poplar

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