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Information about the Forest Growers’ Levy (2016)

The levy rate is 27c per tonne for the 2016 year.  The levy rate has remained the same at 27 cents since the implementation of the Levy Order on 1 January 2014.  The sum of 30c per tonne is the maximum levy rate that can be set for any year of the 6 year term until 31 December 2019. 

The levy is administered by Forest Growers Levy Trust (FGLT) which is a statutorily endorsed forest industry organisation established on 4 March 2013 to manage the proceeds of the (then) newly introduced levy on plantation timber products.  The Trust was not formally established until the Levy Order was issued.  It was preceded by the work of the Establishment Board during 2013.  The Establishment Board managed the Commodity Levy referendum process.

The composition of the FGLT is Chair: Geoff Thompson; Trustees representing forest owners with more than 1,000 ha: James Balfour, Bill McCallum, Paul Nicholls, Phillip Taylor; Trustees representing forest owners with less than 1,000 ha: Ian Jackson, Steve Wilton.

The levy is collected by an independent company on behalf of the FGLT.  Information on harvested log volume is supplied to the independent company by mills and other processing facilities which receive the logs.  An advantage to smaller-scale forest growers of a levy on harvest is that they only have to pay the levy when they are receiving income from their forests.

Each year the Plantation Forestry Work Programme is reviewed by the Trust and a budget for the next year approved. The levy struck for that period may be more or less than the previous year’s levy, but it may not exceed the maximum levy amount of 30c per tonne.

Before the Forest Growers’ Levy came into being, most work done to advance the industry on behalf of all forest growers was funded by voluntary levies and subscriptions paid by members of the NZ Farm Forestry Association (FFA) and the NZ Forest Owners’ Association (FOA).  The levy now in place means that non-member forest owners now also contribute.  But because FFA and FOA members represent about 80% of the harvest, they still pay the lion's share of the costs.
Money is not the main reason for the levy – it's about bringing all growers into the industry loop, so they know what's happening and can play their part in a more cohesive industry.  The levy also allows planning and partnership funding commitments in a way that annual voluntary arrangements cannot.  This has become more important with the increased expectations of industry commitment to research and economic targets by government.
The purpose of the Forest Growers’ Levy Trust is largely to help advance the New Zealand plantation forestry industry both domestically and internationally.  The Trust has the responsibility to ensure that the money collected under the levy is appropriately invested in areas of research, development and promotion that will further advance NZ forestry here and overseas.  It is the belief of the FGLT that working together will make the forestry industry in New Zealand a more profitable, sustainable and safe environment in which to work.

Forest Growers’ Levy Trust 2016 Work Programme Costs ($7,632,000 total):

Small and Medium Forest Enterprises ($130,000)
Marketing and Membership Support ($792,500)
Environment ($272,000)
Fire ($90,000)
Forest Health/Biosecurity ($1,007,500)
Health Safety and Training ($585,000)
Research Science & Technology ($4,478,000)
Transportation ($277,000)

Who can apply for FGLT funding?
The funding of a project by the FGLT is open to anyone with a project which will directly benefit the industry.  Although this will most likely be a person or organisation connected to the forest growing industry in some way, people or organisations not involved in the industry but with a good idea are still welcome to apply.

How do I apply for funding?
Applications for inclusion into the Annual Work Programme are accepted until 1 July.  An application pack is available from the website fglt.org.nz and guidance to completing the documentation is also available.
It is significant (but no surprise) that Research is the single largest category of expenditure and accounts for nearly 60% of the total budget.  The following are some of research projects for 2016:

Sustainable Intensification (GCFF) $1,600K  A large programme to significantly improve the productivity and profitability of Radiata pine commercial forests. A major focus to identify superior trees across large forest estates and identify the genotypes that perform best on each site.

Diverse Species / Specialty Wood Products $300K  Maintenance of a research programme in the main alternative species for risk management and specialty niche markets - Douglas fir, Redwoods, Cypress species and Eucalyptus nitens, E regnans, and E fastigata.

Phytophthora Sciences $400K  This programme aims to improve the knowledge of the Phytophthora diseases that are responsible for Red Needle Cast in Radiata pine, but also links in with Kauri dieback and losses in horticultural crops such as apples.

Red Needle Cast $300K  The needle disease programme is primarily focused on Red Needle Cast disease and is aimed at understanding the environmental conditions that favour the disease, the growth impact, the economic cost to forest owners and possible control options.

Bio Protection $300K  The is to identify beneficial organisms that provide protection to Radiata pine from other damaging disease agents and which have the potential to increase the productivity.

Site Productivity Estimation $42,500  High resolution (15m x 15m) raster images enabling precision forestry. As well as estimating productivity, limitations on productivity will be identified.

In Forest Debarking $85K  Feasibility of in-forest debarking including assessment of ease and cost, short term drying rates, phytosanitary standards, transport and handling costs, safety issues and other supply chain impacts.

Nutrient Balance Model $60K  An enhanced NuBalm model with the capability to predict which sites are more likely to retain or leach nitrogen added through fertiliser use or in response to other management practice.

Weed research programme $120K This is principally focused on research to reduce chemical application rates, understand the movement and ultimate fate of the chemicals in the environment, to investigate more effective mixes of existing herbicides and additives and alternative application methodologies.

Pest Control in Urban Areas $75K  Development of improved methods for pest eradication in urban environments where new incursions are most likely to occur due to the location of key entry points.

Nitrogen Deposition Measurement $60K  Forest managers will face increasing restrictions on nitrogen leaching losses from their land as regional councils become more concerned about nitrogen contamination of groundwater, streams, lakes and estuaries. Nitrogen deposition in rain from nitrogen volatilised from nearby pasture fertilising is known to occur.

Automation to Improve Efficiency and Safety of Forest Operations and Supply Chain $450K  The current steep land harvesting programme with MPI as a partner ends on 30 June 2016.  Since late 2014 priorities for future research in the harvesting, logistics and supply chain from forest to point of sale have been sought from forest owners, contractors, end users and government agencies with the objective of developing a new programme to build on the success of the current steepland harvesting programme.

Wilding Management $75K  Wilding conifers are a significant issue for the industry in the South Island and lower North Island and in many places have resulted in planning controls on further forestry development. Current control methods are expensive and are reliant on heavy application of herbicides.  It is likely that a cross-sector research programme to find more sustainable solutions to the wilding issue will be developed.

Licence to Operate (Weeds/Erosion Risk/Slash Management/Slope Stability/FSC Chemicals $200K  ‘Licence to operate’ refers to the sectors’ freedom to operate within certain environmental and social regulatory constraints. Increasingly, the forest industry must demonstrate environmental sustainability to retain social acceptance of forestry as a land-use practice.

Development of UAV/Applications for Forestry $100K  Rapid advances in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV=drones) technology provide forest growers with an opportunity to improve the way they collect data.

Other projects of particular relevance to smaller-scale forest owners include Small Forests Harvesting Systems, Small Forests Inventory Systems, and On-Line Forestry Calculators Development

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