Tourism creates most of the headlines in the Ruapehu District but farming remains "a bedrock" of the economy, mayor Don Cameron says.

He and his council's CE Clive Manley and economic development manager Warren Furner met with farming representatives recently. They were Ruapehu Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairman Nick Street, Taumarunui sustainable land management group facilitator Dick Lancaster and farm consultant Geoff Burton.

The six discussed priorities, a statement from the council said, and they intend to meet every six months.

One subject for discussion was Government's one billion trees initiative. Burton said selective tree planting on unproductive land was a good idea, but that large-scale forestry can be detrimental to farming and to small communities.


Any change to land use should deliver long-term benefits, Lancaster said, and good productive land should be protected from "inappropriate use".

The council can help farmers by lobbying Government on such policy, Cameron said.

More processing and adding value to the district's agricultural produce would be good, Lancaster said.

Better broadband and better roads would be helpful on many levels, Street said - including for farm tourism, which is increasing.

He added that having revitalised towns would be attractive to young farmers and their partners.

All six agreed it was good for the district to have a diverse economic base and lots of social connections - both factors adding to its resilience.