John Dermer , New Zealand Tree Grower May 2011.
Conference in Masterton
This was well attended and I'm sure enjoyed by all who went. These events are a great way to have an in depth look at the regions on display and the Wairarapa branch committee managed to show off the Wairarapa very well. From Castle Point station in the dry north east, to equally dry but much better planted Pirinoa Station in the south, then on to Waiorongomai lying against the Rimutaka ranges in the south west, with visits to Rewenui, Pukaha Mount Bruce, and Henley lake along the way. This was a well planned and executed itinerary.
Wasn't it great to see Airini Pottinger joining us for lunch and a walk round Henley lake?
Thank you very much to Stuart Orme and Hilton Dickens and the rest of your team for handling the whole conference process so well. It is an interesting observation that the people who attend conference do so every year, year in and year out. They don't miss one if they can help it and I'm certain they enjoyed this year's. Next year we visit Balclutha from the 11th to the 15th April and the committee have already got a very interesting programme in place.
The opening speech by Stuart Orme. He entertained and informed us many times but his opening address was outstanding. Another was the excellent speech at the awards dinner from Fran Wilde, the chair of the Wellington Regional Council, where she demonstrated she had done lots of homework about us and issued a challenge to us to get out there and make ourselves better known in mainstream New Zealand. The award from our long time sponsor Husqvarna, to the oldest winner of the NZFFA Farm Forester of the year who was present at conference, was another. Richard and Wilma Davis-Colley never miss and won this very unexpected bonus. I am assured by the Husqvarna people that they will do it again next year! Thank you very much Husqvarna for your continuing support.
Another was the pruning demonstration given by a panel of "experts" on how to prune C. Ovensii at Rewenui. It seems experts can't always agree and many people left more confused than they started, but the Ovensii were excellent and loving the site.
Our association is still faced with a steady decline in membership. This is in spite of the present optimism in the forest industry and I want to pick up on the point made by Fran Wilde in her speech to the awards dinner, where she challenged us get our message out to a wider audience, that we stand for wise land which includes the use of trees on farms. We are still not well known nationally so need to promote ourselves more vigorously. We on the exec are doing our best but are nearly snowed under dealing with the raft of issues facing us at the moment. I challenge you, our members, to get this simple message out to wider New Zealand that trees on farms have never been more needed and that we, the NZFFA, can help farmers and other land owners make the transition from a blinkered "grass only" mentality to a grass + trees = more income and greater satisfaction in the way your farm looks. Talk to your neighbour. Persuade the ones with trees to get into the ETS. It is not that complicated and the money to be made is considerable. To use Stuart Orme's figures: Forestry alone has an IRR (Internal Rate of Return) of about 9%. Forestry + carbon = an IRR of about 19%. This is a simple message to get out and should encourage even the stubbornest characters. Just make sure they know who told them and where you got the information.
Congratulations to David and Clioe Blackley and their daughter Gabrielle for winning the Husqvarna award for the North Island Farm Forester of the year, and to Neil and Pam Cullen for winning the South Island one. Also to Ingleby Cox from Mid North branch for winning the Land Care Trust award. These are all outstanding properties so grab the chance attend the field days at them.
Maori name for NZFFA
The name "Te Korowaitanga o te Whenua" (the cloaking of the land) has been proposed as an additional title to the NZFFA. This was passed by Council but hotly debated at the AGM and a decision was made to leave it "on the table" for wider discussion. If anyone has a better idea on an additional name for our organisation please let your exec liaison member know.
Farm and Forest Carbon (F&FC)
We are still working on setting up a company to accumulate and trade members and potential members carbon.
I hope the rapidly coming winter treats you all well and hope to see many of you in Balclutha next year.