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Newsletter 43, April 2008

Newsletter 43, April 2008

New Zealand Farm Forestry Association
P.O. Box 1122


Farm Forestry Newsletter
April 2008 No. 43

In this issue

Special Council Meeting

Farm Forestry Model


Patrick Milne
-North Canterbury
-Central canterbury
-West Coast

Vice President

Denis Hocking
-Taupo & Districts
-Hawkes Bay

National Executive

John Dermer
-Middle districts

Ian Jackson
-South Canterbury
-North Otago
-Sthn High Country (north)

Neil Cullen
-Mid Otago
-South Otago
-Men of Trees
-Sthn High Country (south)

Dean Satchell
-Far North
-Mid North
-Lower North
-South Auckland

There hasn't been a newsletter since December, sorry have been busy with a major overhaul of the NZFFA website. Your feedback would be appreciated on the "new look", follow the link
- Dean

Special Council Meeting 26 March

(Notes from the meeting)

The Future

Looking at the future of our organisation, councillors saw our primary role as generating and providing information and education, and facilitating the recognition of farm forestry as an optimum landuse, and getting trees in the ground. Our critical mass provides an opportunity to get something done and be a proactive role model. This includes advocacy, policy and lobbying. We need more political influence both with central and local government.

Sharing knowledge
Providing education and information was seen as of primary importance. Knowledge is an asset, and we are the organisation of choice for information. We are the number one source of information for sustainable land-use. The big question is "should our knowledge be available to everyone, or just our members?"
Other points:
-Information on alternative species- radiata pine was seen as a bit of a "dead horse" and we need to look into the future at a hugely changing scene.
-More research into diverse species, using our funds to seed projects.
-Put examples of successful tree growing in front of people and support wise land-use with the right tree in the right place. Sharing our knowledge and enjoyment of farm forestry, particularly at a local level.
- Tap into our knowledge online, use the web.
- We need to work on reliability of sharing knowledge, an issue with being a voluntary organisation.
- Information network.
-Add value for members and the organisation.
-Biosecurity and other core areas need resourcing.

How can we look after members/branches  and their needs?
Self interest was seen as important. People do join for selfish motives- to learn and profit, then share that knowledge. Serving interests of our members was seen to be partly fulfilled by advocacy and technical information which leads to profitable activities.
The advocay role: wise, integrated, sustainable land use was seen to be fundamental to the organisation. We are very well positioned with tree planting and sustainable land use coming to the fore. Advocacy means trees in the ground, which leads to more members.

Declining membership
Loss of membership and revenue was not seen as a stagnating organisation, but more a sign of the times and the current sector environment. We need to regain focus and concentrate on the organisation ahead of the focus on membership.
Other points:
-Grow a strong organisation and occupy the moral high ground with the use of trees on farms.
-Knowledge will lead to better production and financial success, which leads to membership.
-We need to define our product and source different revenue streams. However we don't want to become a money making ahead of the fellowship/inspiration/enthusiasm our organisation fosters.

We need political advocay in Wellington, but administration and our office don't need to be in Wellington.
Strengthening branches with Councillors was seen as important- why should Executive represent branches? However Council need to become more involved, active and lively- after all, Council are the policy makers, Executive the implementers- and Executive reports to council. However, presently the executive make decisions by default. This needs overhauling. A strong democracy is important. Councillors are the strength of the organisation. The strength of regions needs to come through as seamlessly as possible, possibly by  reducing Councillor numbers, perhaps by a ward system. Task forces could be introduced- they are good motivators. Council needs a way of doing things away from conference, possibly via the newsletter or online forum.
Three executive members representing each Island is out of date.
People outside of executive working on issues is important.
Special interest groups are the cutting edge of new knowledge and need special attention- they are also the hardest to muster, being spread around the country.
Temporary taskforces could be set up on issues.
We need to think of a way to energise members involvement- people with energy do what they do best rather than bogged down in admin. Salaried positions should perhaps do donkey work eg newsletters.

Dean Satchell

Farm Forestry Model
A concept page of the Farm Forestry Model  is online with a banner advert for Husqvarna.
Councillors views would be appreciated for publishing in the next issue of the newsletter.

Your executive favours building a free online resource accessible by anyone requiring information. This website will be a major development and asset for the organisation. Revenue streams would be generated by banner advertising (and numbers of visits). This concept follows along the lines of and certainly fits in with what councillors have said above.
Comments please!

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