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Return of the Fieldays Forestry Hub, set to amaze and inspire visitors

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Following its inaugural success last year, the Fieldays Forestry Hub will again feature when Fieldays 2023 returns to its traditional winter slot, from June 14-17, at Mystery Creek in Waikato.

Like last year, the Fieldays Forestry Hub, located at site G80, will host about twenty sector organisations under the theme of ‘Wood our low-carbon future’, with staff from large companies and small not-for-profit agencies on hand to provide information and answer questions.

This year a new series of forums and talks will enhance the learning experience of visitors wanting to know more about the forestry and wood processing sector.

The Hub will host two forums and several ‘hot-topic’ talks that will be open to the public, with time scheduled for questions and answers.

The two forums, supported by NZME, will be fronted by The Country radio host Jamie Mackay who will moderate a debate between a panel of speakers.

The first forum’s topic will be, Food and wood – how much land does each need? This is scheduled for Wednesday 14 June at 2pm.

The second forum’s topic will be, Are all trees created equal? This is scheduled for Thursday 15 June at 2pm.

Other attractions include a forestry simulator, so visitors can experience what it’s like to operate machinery in a forest, and a couple of large forestry machines to view close-up.

Forestry Minister Peeni Henare has been invited to officially launch the Hub for 2023 on Wednesday 14 June at 11:00am.

The hub is a collaboration between Fieldays and an advisory group comprising Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service, Forest Growers Levy Trust, Scion, NZ Forest Owners’ Association, Red Stag, NZ Farm Forestry Association and Future Foresters.

Hub spokesperson Alex Wilson says the sector has begun a process of transformation in partnership with the government with, most recently, the launch of a $57 million Wood Processing Grant Fund in April and the release of the foundational Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) last November.

“The sector can expect more information on the ITP projects to be released at Fieldays.

“The wider public can anticipate an engaging experience on the possibilities of trees and wood as the sector helps to mitigate climate change and addresses the challenges of wetter and hotter weather in many parts of the country.

“The forestry and wood processing sector is New Zealand’s fourth largest primary industry exporter and a major contributor to regional economies and employment. Fieldays gives our sector a particular opportunity to have conversations with rural landowners about the opportunities to grow trees for timber, protect the land and to store carbon.”

New Zealand Farm Forestry Association president Neil Cullen says many farming organisations agree that an integrated tree planting approach on-farm is the best way forward to address the many environmental land use issues.

“The Farm Forestry Association will have a significant presence in the Fieldays Forestry Hub to explain how its members have practically implemented this approach, and which tree species work best and what are the costs and returns.”

New Zealand Forest Owners’ Association president Grant Dodson says the Forest Hub is a valued way the industry can communicate directly with farmers and the public.

“We’ll be there to explain the truth of some issues, such as the many things we are doing to reduce forest waste, but also just to communicate that we have a lot more in common with the rest of the primary sector than many people think.”

Scion chief executive Dr Julian Elder says Scion’s 2030 Strategy of right tree, right place, right purpose is highly relevant for rural New Zealand.

“Our innovations and technologies can be applied to trees and fibre on farms in new ways.”

Julian Elder says future rural landscapes and communities would include a mix of farming, productive forestry, trees and new manufacturing and processing activities.

“All this will play into the goal of a circular bioeconomy and grow jobs and resilience for farmers and rural communities.”

New Zealand National Fieldays Society CEO Peter Nation says the Fieldays Forestry Hub is set to build on last year’s successful launch by showcasing the latest innovation and technology, a commitment to sustainability and providing a real opportunity for conversation.

Full details about the Fieldays Forestry Hub can be found at https://www.fieldays.co.nz/attend-fieldays/explore/forestry.

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