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Grant launched to help farmers prepare for carbon-neutral economy, increase productivity


13 Dec 2021

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A grant to support farmers to plant trees and prepare for a carbon-neutral economy has officially been launched.

The Trees on Farms grant, funded and facilitated by Private Forests Tasmania (PFT), has $600,000 for distribution.

PFT's chief executive officer Penny Wells said trees on farms have benefits of improving productivity and land health, as well as capturing and storing carbon.

"When trees are integrated into farms, the benefits can include improved soil, water and biodiversity, provision of shelter for livestock, rehabilitate unproductive land and improve the environmental and amenity aspects of the land," Ms Wells said.

"We have recently seen several major agricultural businesses, organisations and markets delivering carbon-neutral policies and targets that will impact the supply chain, including farmers.

"Trees on farms could help farmers prepare to be investment-ready for a carbon-neutral economy, as well as provide extra income when harvested."

In 2019, seven demonstration sites benefited from funding to help establish and integrate commercial trees into the properties, which resulted in more than 210,000 seedlings planted in the form of shelterbelts and woodlots.

The projects' strategic value includes the demonstrations of best practice commercial plantings, integrated on-farm, and visible at a landscape scale. This may be in the form of projects neighbouring the round one demonstration sites, projects that extend across farm boundaries, or projects in the same catchments.

Tasmania's Minister for Resources, Guy Barnett, said the Trees on Farms grant would help grow Tasmania's future economy and ecology through trees.

"Three-quarters of all forestry production in Tasmania by volume now comes from private growers," he said.

"The Tasmanian Government recognises the importance of our private forests not only to the sector but also to the economic fabric of regional and rural communities.

"We know that the right trees in the right place can increase farm productivity, improve water efficiency and water quality, improve the carbon balance, protect the land for the future, and create high-value timber products."

There are 45,000 hectares of privately-owned, non-industrial plantation forest estate in Tasmania, the vast majority of which consists of agroforestry.

The direct value of agroforestry comes from selling wood products, carbon credits, increased farm productivity and co-products such as biofuel, oils and honey.

Indirect benefits of integrating trees on farms include improved biodiversity, providing a habitat for native species, addressing salinity, and enhanced land amenity and value.

The grant is funded by the Tasmanian Government through Private Forests Tasmania and with assistance from the Australian Government.

Applicants will need to commit 50 per cent of the project cost through in-kind contribution. Applications close on January 27 at 2pm.

Private Forests Tasmania is a government authority with a legislated role to facilitate and expand the development of the state's private resource in a manner that is consistent with sound forest and land management practices.

Further details can be found HERE or call PFT on 1300 661 009.