B+LNZ’s CEO Sam McIvor says that the structure of the funding will work well for farmers by building on the efficiency gains they’ve made over the past 30 years, all while helping create and preserve 1.4 million hectares of native forest on sheep and beef farms.
“Done in the right way, by focusing on having the right trees in the right place for the right purpose, the One Billion Trees Fund represents a huge opportunity for sheep and beef farmers and complements many of the activities we’re focused on,” says Mr McIvor.
“Over the past three decades the sheep and beef sector has made significant gains in productivity, for instance doubling the value of our exports while halving the number of our ewe flock and still exporting the same quantity of sheepmeat.
“At a time when consumers are looking more in depth at the story behind their food and want to know that it’s been ethically produced and those who produce it are doing so sustainably, it really is the time for our sheep and beef farmers to shine. Since 1990, sheep and beef farmers have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions from livestock by 30 per cent, there’s 1.4 million hectares of native forest on sheep and beef farms, we have a largely pasture-based, free range farming system that’s the envy of the world, and the One Billion Trees Fund gives us the opportunity to continue to enhance that image.”
With the new funding being targeted to support both smaller planting activities and larger projects, the One Billion Tree Fund will enable farmers to undertake a range of activities that will benefit farmers and New Zealanders.
“As part of our Environment Strategy, we’ve committed to being net carbon neutral by 2050, improving the quality of freshwater so New Zealanders can swim in and gather food in the water surrounding our farms, and for each of our farmers to have an tailored and active farm environment plan by the end of 2021, so the funding and approach announced today will play an important part in helping our farmers achieve these ambitious goals.” says Mr McIvor.
Mr McIvor also notes that the funding works well with the diverse range of activities that already take place on sheep and beef farms.
“Our farms are a mosaic of farming activities, often with cropping, beef cattle, sheep, Manuka, horticulture, and forestry all taking place alongside significant tracks of regenerating native bush. Our vision is that within a farm, our farmers match land use with the land’s capability, and this is reflected by the diverse range of activities that take place on farm.”
To assist farmers in making the most of the One Billion Trees Fund, B+LNZ will be providing extension activities to help farmers identify suitable opportunities and understand how to apply for grant funding.