Many farmers today are grappling with the challenge of succession. We have many ageing farmers looking to retire and passing the farm on to the next generation and it is becoming increasingly harder.
Families appear to be taking a "fairer" approach today and attempting to divide assets evenly. Land prices are not getting cheaper and farm gate returns in many cases are not keeping pace.
With many traditional farming areas such as North Canterbury, Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay now seeing the expansion of lifestyle block demand, this does not help many farming systems as it increases land prices through land use change.
For farmers are looking to improve their returns in a sustainable way, one of these options is through exotic forests and off-farm investment. Diversification is important and if done right will help the succession process.
This week I am looking at diversification and land use change. So what drives land use change? Humans have always changed land use to meet current and expected future needs, it starts with deforestation, then pastoral farming, intensification through uses like dairy farming and horticulture, and of course urbanisation.
This week I am talking with Greg Sheppard from Sheppard Agriculture, Greg has over 25 years working as a farm advisor. He sees his role as working with individual farm business owners and the wider farming community in a way which leads to sustainable businesses growth, culminating in the realisation of individuals goals.
Greg was recently part of an integrated farming and forestry case study on a property west of Kekerangu, north of Kaikoura, to explore land use changes.
I am also talking to Dave Janet from Forestry Management Group to further explore how forestry is being integrated into farming systems, and to get his views on the relationship between certain farming groups and the forestry industry. Dave is vastly experienced, and over the years has provided forest owners and farmers with expertise in establishment, tending, and harvesting forests throughout New Zealand.
To hear the full story listen to the podcast.
Angus Kebbell is the Producer at Tailwind Media. You can contact him here.