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$86M in seed capital to grow new plantations

Former South Australian and National Tree Farmer of the Year award winner for sustainable farming practices Peter Feast assessing his Caveton plot, south of Mount Gambier, with Sylva Systems managing director Braden Jenkin as part of the GTFIH Trees into Farming project.

The announcement of $86 million in seed capital to grow new commercial plantation estate is another progressive step forward in realising the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub’s Trees into Farming plan, according to committee chair Cam MacDonald. Source: Timberbiz

And, according to the Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin said that with the forestry sector a huge employer in the region, growing the plantation estate would ensure that continues into the future.

“The Federal Government’s commitment of funding over the next five years, partnering with our State Governments’ in Victoria and South Australia through a new grants program, will provide a new pathway for the GTFIH to work with local farmers on a sustainable plan to get additional trees in the ground and meet growing market demand,” Mr MacDonald said.

“National and global consumption of wood products is set to quadruple by 2050 and we know locally this demand will grow by 1.6m3 over the next decade alone.

“The GTFIH members have committed to optimising the use of existing resource to meet this market gap, essentially making more from less, whilst understanding new opportunities to expand its plantation timber base by partnering with farmers and other landholders.

“As a sector we welcome this additional Federal Government support to realise our expansion goals and the long-term commitment to funding our Hub, working collaboratively to address our immediate and long-term industry challenges.”

Mr Pasin said the program was about getting more trees in the ground and ensuring forest industries in the Green Triangle have a long-term future.

“We want to partner with South Australia to grow this renewable, sustainable industry so that it can continue to create jobs in the Green Triangle and deliver quality, Australian-made products to markets,” he said.

“This investment, made in partnership with State Government and industry, will create jobs in the Green Triangle, not just in the planting phase, but in 25 or 30 years’ time when that wood is harvested and processed into a truss or a timber frame.’’

The GTFIH has engaged leading forestry expert Braden Jenkin, managing director of Sylva Systems, to coordinate its Trees into Farming plan, which was launched in late 2021.

In recent months, Mr Jenkin has been engaging with local farmers to understand the successes and failures of previous plantation expansion plans to inform a robust and attractive business arrangement.

“Learning from past experience, it is critical to work with agriculture to promote commercial trees as part of agriculture and in agriculture as a solution to agricultural issues. A mantra of right trees in the right place for the right reason is fundamental. And we must be guided by markets as to which trees are commercial,” Mr Jenkin said.

“The Green Triangle has the right geography, topography and climate to suit plantation growth and is neighboured by the nation’s leading saw milling infrastructure, managed by a highly skilled workforce. We know how to grow commercial trees that processors want. This provides a solid foundation for plantation expansion within a farming landscape.

“The GTFIH Trees into Farming plan is building the foundations for sustainable partnerships with key landowners to capitalise on units of land less suited to their core agricultural enterprises, within their land holdings, which could be earning new income by investing in commercial softwood or hardwood trees. The additional earning potential from carbon will act as a further catalyst to obtain additional returns from the fibre grown.”