The TFGA is the only peak farming lobby group in Australia that includes forestry in its list of major primary industries.
Curiously even Agforce Qld, which a few years ago helped fund a joint program with Timber Qld called AgForests Qld to promote better use/management of Qld private native forests, does not recognise/represent the forest industry.
Not even the National Farmers Federation considers forestry an important primary industry relevant or important to the rural community!
It real is extraordinary!
As a forester that says a great deal about the myopic views of the forest industry and the farming lobby.
An enormous ideological abyss still exists between the forest industry and agriculture.
Up until 10 years ago the forest industry was dominated by State governments, public forest resources and a community service business model. No self respecting farmers lobby bothered with forestry.
But not anymore!
Most wood now grown and sold in Australia comes from private commercial forest growers.
Forestry is now a real primary industry!
But the farming lobby groups have not understood the fundamental changes happening in the forest industry.
And the forest industry still doesn’t understand that its future is now with farmers and private land owners, and not with politicians.
The forest industry has no future unless it can get the farming lobby onside.
Alternatively the forest industry has no future whilst the farming lobby regards commercial tree growing as irrelevant and unimportant.
There is a lot of work to be done.
Here’s a list of the major farm lobby groups around Australia:
Tasmanian Farmers & Graziers Association http://www.tfga.com.au/
Victorian Farmers Federation http://www.vff.org.au/
NSW Farmers Association http://www.nswfarmers.org.au/
Queensland Farmers’ Federation http://www.qff.org.au/
Agforce Qld http://www.agforceqld.org.au/
Primary Producers SA http://www.ppsa.org.au/
Western Australian Farmers Federation http://www.wafarmers.org.au/
NT Farmers http://www.ntfarmers.org.au/
National Farmers’ Federation http://www.nff.org.au/
So why is the TFGA important to the future of the forest industry?
- The future of the industry is with profitable commercially focused private tree growers;
- We need a strong independent advocate for private growers to help counteract the political distortions and corruptions in the forest industry;
- We need a new conversation about forestry that is not lead by politicians, sawmillers and conservationists.
So where is the TFGA as a strong independent advocate for private tree growers?
Forestry is the only primary industry that pits private growers against a taxpayer-funded Government grower? No other industry (diary, vegetables, fruit, beef, wool, etc) faces this problem!
The traditional advocates for the forest industry in Tasmania are politicians and the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania (FIAT) neither of whom give a toss for private tree growers.
So why do you think the forest industry is in such a mess?
We need policies that will help drive an efficient, commercially focused, flexible and profitable forest industry? And we need a strong independent advocate!
The TFGA website says: The TFGA constantly develops and reviews policies in almost every area of economic activity, through its board, committees, commodity councils and annual general meetings.
So where are these policies?? Certainly not on the TFGA website!
I should mention here that my definition of a forest industry is first and foremost focused on profitable tree growing. Profitable tree growing is the only basis for a successful forest industry, even if that means every log grown and harvested has to be exported.
Come on TFGA! We need you!! Organise some industry/community forums. Write some policies. Start a bold conversation about profitable tree growing!! Help implement the National Action Statement on Farm Forestry!
We need leadership!!!