20 Apr 2009

Membership key issue for Farm Forestry Association

9:04 pm on 20 April 2009

The Farm Forestry Association says maintaining the organisation's relevance and membership numbers will be key issues at its national conference.

Hundreds of farm foresters are in Gisborne on Monday for the start of the conference.

The association's membership has halved in the past 15 years. Membership was 4500 to 5000 in its heyday in the early 1990's, but that's now dropped to about 2300 members.

President Patrick Milne says the drop in membership coincided with changes in agriculture and forestry, such as a change in land use and older farmers moving off the land.

He says there's no easy answer to resolving the issue, but if membership continues to fall, the organisation's ability to be a strong lobbying force will be reduced.