Hill country farming campaign shows they think climate change is someone else’s problem

Forest Owners Association

10 MARCH 2023

The Forest Owners Association says the latest campaign against forestry, led by Beef+Lamb New Zealand and 50 Shades of Green, is climate change responsibility denial and is dangerous in the long term for New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers.

Forest Owners President, Grant Dodson says the just launched,  Kiwis backing farmers, is contrary to the Climate Change Commission’s advice that additional forests are needed to reach greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

“It demonstrates that yet again farmers want to keep on treating climate change as a problem that others need to solve, but that they should somehow be allowed to carry on as if nothing is happening,” Grant Dodson says.

“This is despite the fact that thousands of hectares of East Coast farmland being destroyed in the recent cyclones and massive sediment flows off farms into Hawke’s Bay.”

“We acknowledge that food production is vital,  but these massive storms clearly demonstrate that food production itself is significantly at risk if nothing is done.”

“Much more has been lost on the East Coast than will ever be lost from thoughtful planting of areas of trees on farms,” Grant Dodson says

“Trees on the hill country are essential to stabilise the land, sequester carbon and provide diversified income to replace collapsed wool returns.  New Zealand’s most successful farms incorporate forestry for this reason.”

“We all acknowledge that taking productive land out of circulation into carbon-only farming is undesirable.  But incorporating productive forestry onto farms is a win-win.”

“Farmers can fight climate change, meet their He Waka Eke Noa targets, stabilise land, and receive income from carbon and harvesting.”

“I am incredulous that farming groups are directly campaigning against trees when they are a solution.”

“The Climate Change Commission advises this.  Leading farmers know this.  So why do we see a denial campaign yet again from lobby groups that simply can’t recognise established science and seem unwilling to play their part?”

Grant Dodson however says he sympathises with many of the regulatory concerns that the sheep and beef farmer campaign raises and says farming and forestry have literally and figuratively a lot of common ground.

Grant Dodson
Forest Owners Association President