Ian Jackson, New Zealand Tree Grower May 2012.
Hello and greetings to fellow farm forestry memebers. I would like to introduce myself to you having been elected President during the AGM at the conference in Balclutha. I am Ian Jackson, a sheep and bull beef farmer who farms near Waimate in South Canterbury. I farm a family farm of 295 hectares carrying around 4000 stock units, with a number of woodlots of a range of species planted for production and amenity values. I have been a member of NZFFA since 1985, and a member of the National Executive for the past nine years. I am dedicated to the advanement of the NZFFA, the promotion of planting trees and the development of our industry.
I see the real strength of this association in the branch structure and the activities they run. Our association is only as strong as the local branches, and is is the field days and seminars which are our loacl voice and promotion. It is my intention to get round as many branches as possible during my time as president, to meet local members, understand your issues and promote our organisation.
The joint branches of South Otago and Mid Otago, ably led by conference chairman Russel Kerr, are to be congradulated on the organising and running of another conference. We enjoyed views of the wide Otago landscape, and some inspirational visits to exceptionally planted farms. The focus on water was aptly illustrated by visits to view re-vegetated work as Sinclair Wetlands, examples of riparian plantings, and visit to dairy farm highlighting effluent management and the role trees play.
The meetings were extremely productive, with David Rhodes, the Forest Owners CEO detailing the upcoming commodity levy, Jason Guiver, the NZ Wood Technical Director discussing the many exciting ways wood can be used in modern construction, and Peter Weir, Earnslaw One's Environmental Manager, speaking about work on the development of the National Environmental Standards. They are aimed at environmental standards throughout the country, and to even out the anoomalies which exist between regional authorities. these regulations will eventually affect many of our farm actvities. The Branch Managment session produced many good ideas and information.
Congratulations go to all the award winners presented at the conference - there are articles about them in this issue of Tree Grower It is very pleasing to see these winners come through, with their stories being very inspirational. We must use these stories to promote our organisation at all levels, with field days and in the media. It was pleasingt to see Ken Stephens awarded the Distingusihed Service Award for life-long service to farm forestry in the South Otago region, on the National Executive and as President.
Trees on farm workshop
This series of field days run by forest scientist and alternative species guru Ian Nicholas, is under way and are coming to a town near you sometime soon. It is being funded by the NZFFA and the Sustainable Farming Fund and is to run for two years. The Gibsourne and Hawke's Bay branches have held very sucessful days. Get in behind these days as they are great promotion for NZFFA and help to raise our profile in the regions. Ian has money for advertising, and the topics or themes can be made to suit your area.
Forest commodity levy
At the conference your council voted to support the introduction, in principle, of a forest productions commodity levy. This levy was suggested several years ago but did not gain enough traction at that time. However now the Forest Owners Association, which is advocating for this, believe they have the support for a levy. The levy is to be made against all logs produced and the money used to fund broadly stated as 'industry good activities'.
The aim at this stage is for a referendum by Novemeber 2012, and if there is agreement, a levy could be in place by July 2013. The NZFFA is assured that reasonable reperestentation for the small grower will be allowed for on the board. As such we will ensure that our voice is heard, and keep our issues in front of the wider industry.
I wish to thank those branches that promoted and supported me in my election as President of the NZFFA, it was extremely gratifying. I will endevour to reward this support, and I look foward to working with you and the challenges ahead.