The afforestation gap – the program and policy challenge
The Saskatchewan Forest Centre (SFC) is established and provides direct support to grow the forest and agriculture sector. As part of the SFC mandate, several agroforestry demonstration sites have been established across the province. Through technology transfer activities of the SFC Agroforestry Unit, the SFC has seen a great increase in interest from farmers and land managers in growing trees as part of their crop rotation, mostly throughout the forest fringe/northern grain belt. Of course many questions arise that the SFC has worked to answer in order to respond to this interest. Of main concern is the economics of growing trees. The development of a reasonable predictive model creates several challenges, including predicting yield, prices, and cost of production twenty years out. A future value model (FV) was developed that shows costs and returns for different yield, management, and end use scenarios. The results show that a plantation managed for a high value end use is certainly profitable and achievable even with the resources available today. Challenges to programs and policies that would reduce costs, improve yield potential, and remove risk remain in research and development for different aspects of tree production. Issues such as applicability of crop insurance, role of farm income programs, and other risk sharing programs and finance require development. But from the analysis, a substantial opportunity exists to lower cost across three specific areas: yield improvement through genetic research, mechanical planting, and access to registered herbicides for vegetation management options. A commitment to replicate the rapeseed to canola success story and creating scarcity and competition through efficacy in use of the Crown forests would contribute greatly to the realization of this industry for Saskatchewan farmers.
The following license files are associated with this item: