Make the most of Government forestry planting grants; NRC

3 Jun 2015

Northland farmers and landowners are being encouraged to take full advantage of a Government forestry grant scheme, with the Northland Regional Council advising it also has options to help.

Pine forestThe Government recently re-launched its Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS), announcing it would spend $22.5 million over the next six years subsidising the planting of forests on erosion-prone land.

This scheme previously saw more than 12,000 hectares of new forest planted nationally between 2008 and 2013.

The re-launched scheme, administered by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), is accepting applications until 30 June.

Grants will be allocated at the rate of $1300 per hectare, with the objective of allowing recipients to start planting in winter next year.

"For those who had already started planning planting projects on their land, this is a great incentive to take action over the next month and we encourage Northlanders to do so," says the Northland Regional Council's Hokianga-Kaikohe constituency representative Joe Carr.

Councillor Carr, an Okaihau-based beef farmer and forest owner who chairs the council's Environmental Management Committee, says the regional council can assist applications to the AGS in two ways.

"The council's land management advisers can prepare farm water quality improvement plans at no cost to support applications, while its Environment Fund can provide funding for fencing to exclude stock from areas that have been newly planted for soil conservation benefits." (The Environment Fund opens for another year on 01 July.)

Meanwhile, Cr Carr adds that farmers and landowners who aren't able to get their applications in to the AGS over the next month could still use it as an opportunity to plan projects for next year.

For more information on the Government's Afforestation Grant Scheme, go to:

www.mpi.govt.nz/funding-and-programmes/forestry/afforestation-grant-scheme

For more information on the Northland Regional Council Environment Fund, go to:

www.nrc.govt.nz/environmentfund