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President's Comment, November 2021

Graham West.

Since the August issue of Tree Grower, activity within the Executive and various Forest Growers Levy sub-committees, along with the Action Groups, has continued with considerable intensity. Much of this has been reported in the monthly newsletters. We live in interesting times.

Contributions

Overall, I see many members stepping up and engaging in diverse areas to make this a better organisation. This is the energy that creates the heartbeat of our success. They are the branch chairpersons, secretaries, committees and all members who provide the grass roots services and the ideals we are founded on.

Many are inspired to do more and lead or engage with the Action Groups. Someare running weekend events or writing research proposals. Others serve on Forest Growers Levy committees and push small grower interests tirelessly. Others write submissions, newsletter articles, website items, and branch newsletters. We are the sum of all the parts. All contributions make a difference.

I want to acknowledge these contributions and the role you play it making the NZFFA what it is. It is really a tremendous effort when you stop and think of the totality.

Future

I am convinced there has never been a better time for our organisation to be relevant and to thrive. I have said this before, but in recent months further developments have reinforced this view. The combination of Covid and climate change are likely to change society and business significantly. The government will follow and a different structure and outlook will emerge.

The disruption of the global supply chains may mean more products need to be produced locally, the loss of cheap oil and coal will increase energy costs, the changing climate will force adaptation and more sustainable land use will be encouraged. The whole lifecycle of products will be of greater significance. The increasing demand from export markets for better environmental performance and the development of cheap synthetic food will challenge our important export earnings from pastoral products. The past view of globalisation versus thinking local, is now being challenged. Employing our own people will become
important. This may take a decade to two, but I think we are about to go through something equivalent to the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century.

What this could mean for our organisation is we may have to choose what type of organisation we will need to become to thrive during this change. Do we want to be a modern and professional organisation that provides strong communication, administration services and modifies its values to serve the political and business interest of its members? Or do we wish to remain with the status quo, more as voluntary organisation that keeps its original values and will provide a structure for social and recreational activities. Or perhaps a blend of both?
If required, these changes may take three to five years to transition into.

We have much to discuss, and perhaps we need a forum on the website to express views. I will be raising this topic at the next Councillors meeting and I am optimistic we will apply our usual common sense and emerge stronger than ever.    

I look forward to hearing your views.



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