Over the last 40 years there have been numerous strategies and reports written about farm forestry in Australia and the various issues and challenges it faces (someone needs to do a literature review). Many recommendations have been made and few if any recommendations have ever been implemented.
So here we are in 2021 and history is repeating itself once again.
The Federal Government wants to produce a National Farm Forestry Strategy.
The idea of Farm forestry was initiated in Australia in the mid-1960s. And here we are 50+ years later and pretty much nothing has happened.
Why has farm forestry failed in Australia?
Because politics and forestry welfare have always trumped profitable tree growing, ie. farm forestry. That was true 50 years ago and is still true today.
Reading the “Background” section on this Federal Government website just makes me cringe!! Is this some kind of prospectus? If so it is a 100% failure!
Is farm forestry about profitable tree growing? Apparently not!
All this glossy forest industry rhetoric will be familiar to some people, who will shake with fear as it rekindles memories of the Managed Investment Schemes (MIS), Australia’s biggest ever corporate swindle.
Farm forestry is still competing against Government sawmill welfare and a forest industry dominated by rentseekers and protectionist policies. Profitable tree growing is not on anyone’s agenda. Tree planter beware!!
My previous blog about functional wood markets is very relevant here.
Farm forestry will continue to struggle in Australia until we establish proper functioning wood markets, and that must be driven by the marketplace not politicians, bureaucrats and rentseekers.
We definitely need a National Farm Forestry Strategy but the focus must be on profitable tree growing, developing commercial credibility in the forest industry, and coordinating the support of the marketplace.
Species, locations, markets, prices, supply, demand, costs, etc..
It is not about providing subsided logs to local businesses!
Competitive transparent markets must be supported, including log export markets.
In New Zealand no one talks about farm forestry, because in NZ the Government plays no part in the forest industry. Farmers growing trees IS the forest industry in New Zealand.
Anyway the NFFS survey has 12 simple questions
The survey closes on 17 December 2021.