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TAS Country : September 16th 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010 Tasmanian Country 3 News Lord's plea on forests JENNIFER CRAWLEY PRAYER: John Lord Fuel for thought Pages 8-9 FARMER and forester John Lord has spoken out strongly about the forest industry, calling for leadership and direction for an industry in crisis. The man who describes himself as a passionate advocate for forestry warns future decisions about forestry will have a profound affect on Tasmania's environment, its economy and its people in a letter to Tasmanian Country. Media reports on the possible ending of native forest logging have caused grave con- cern among senior for- esters, forest owners, managers and contrac- tors, Mr Lord said. ''It will be a tragedy if we stop actively manag- ing our native forests in Tasmania,'' he said. The Lord family are recognised statewide and nationally for their forest management. They have been na- med the 2005 Tasman- ian and 2006 AFG National Treefar- mers of the year. Mr Lord is a solicitor and chartered accountant, and was a partner with KPMG for 25 years. He was the chairman of Transend Networks Pty Ltd, the state's electricity transmission company, for the decade ending 2009. He is a director of Private Forests Tasmania, chairman of the Tasmanian Irrigation Development Board, chair- man of the Crisp Bros & Haywards steel fabrication group and a director of the listed public company Ruralco Holdings Limited and its Tasmanian subsidiary Roberts Limited. He first came into contact with the industry in the early 1980s, when he worked for Tasmanian contractors who salvaged the Penola forest near Mt Gambier after the Ash Wednesday fires. A group of 100 Tasmanian contrac- tors, together with their families, went to South Australia for the winter and sal- vaged 360,000 tonnes of wood over 20 weeks. Mr Lord said the for- est industry is one of the state's main indus- tries and one of its most sustainable. Forestry presents an opportunity for the st- ate that should not be ignored, he said. Mr Lord said the long-running forestry debate has had a cata- strophic effect on the industry and the re- gional communities that rely on it. He said it has polarised the com- munity and caused personal, family, social and business loss. But a modern forest industry could be a real winner for the state, Mr Lord said in his letter. ''Half our state is covered in forests. ''I think we can have a vibrant sustainable forest industry that can provide good environmental, economic and social outcomes,'' he said. Young farmers embrace future KAROLIN MacGREGOR TOP SIX: Back row, Martin McConnon, left, Allan Perry and Victoria Percival. Front row James McShane, left, organiser Tim Dobson, Derek Hollander and Zac McCarthy. Rural Youth Release, page 18 AFTER winning his second Young Farmer of the Year Award Lower Marshes wool producer James McShane says Tasmanian agriculture has plenty to look forward to. Mr McShane, who also won the Rural Youth young farmer competition three years ago, beat 14 other finalists from across the state to take home the award last weekend. As part of the competition, finalists are required to complete a number of different modules during the day which test their skills and knowledge in a range of areas from home economics through to animal nutrition, finance, fertiliser and general knowledge. Mr McShane said the competition was the ideal way to showcase some of the great young people involved with Tasmanian agriculture. ''I think it's a fantastic competition and I wish more young people would get involved,'' he said. Mr McShane said Tasmania was the only state that ran a young farmer competition which began in 1985 and with strong industry sponsorship of about $15,000 was really setting the benchmark. Mr McShane said work was also under way to establish a nationwide young farmer competition. At 29 years old, Mr McShane is well under the average farmer age in Tasmania and said he felt positive about future opportunities for agriculture. ''I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't think there was a good future there,'' he said. ''As a race, if we're going to survive we need to keep producing food and fibre and I think we can play an important role in that.'' Mr McShane lives on the family's Lower Marshes property with his wife Tahnee and the couple are expecting their first baby later this year. A wool-based operation, the property runs a flock of fine Merinos and lambing is now well under way. Mr McShane said while the wool industry had suffered low prices in recent years, the long-term outlook for wool was positive. ''Unfortunately as fine wool producers, we've been hit with the global financial situation, because the products made from our wool are considered luxuries,'' he said. ''The prices aren't too bad at the moment though and I think the wool industry does have a strong future ahead of it.'' While conditions had been drier than normal this year, Mr McShane said good rains in recent weeks had turned the season around and green grass was now starting to grow. ''I think it's really important that we remain positive about agriculture as a career because we need to keep young people interested,'' he said. ''It's great to have a competition like this that really highlights the positive side of being involved with the industry.'' *Offer ends 30/9/10 or earlier if stocks run out at participating Polaris dealers. Excludes fleet clients. 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