Andrew Hoggard says the Productivity Commission report is not all bad news for farmers, but it will bring certain challenges.

The report recommends that 20 per cent of sheep and beef land be given over to afforestation, a suggestion backed by Green Party co-leader James Shaw when he was interviewed on The Country today.

Read more: James Shaw on 'scaremongering' land use claims

Perhaps surprisingly, Hoggard partially agreed with Shaw, telling Jamie Mackay, "some of what he was talking about ... is sort of the stuff we promote."


"In terms of the Green Party he's one of the more sensible ones there," says Hoggard but he believes giving 20 per cent of a farm over to forest is more complicated than it looks.

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"There are a whole lot of challenges around that. There's quite a big cost of putting in tracks and fencing to those little blocks that quite frankly may make harvesting uneconomic."

The rules and "hullabaloo" around claiming carbon credits for small patches of forestry would have to be simplified by the Government says Hoggard, who reckons a lot more clarification is needed around what makes a farm carbon-neutral.

"Most farmers probably feel like they've got a hell of a lot of stuff growing on their farm that's all absorbing carbon. We need some good numbers to know, what actually does a carbon-neutral farm look like."

Hoggard also believes that forestry is a "short-term thing," and that while it may look good in 2050, a few years later "when it all gets harvested we're back to square one." He suggest longer-term native plantings for good quality wood, "but then we've got regulations saying we can't harvest native forests."

"So there's a whole lot of technical stuff that politicians need to sort out."