Federated Farmers is delighted to see Gavin O’Donnell, Federated Farmers’ Nelson provincial president, elected to the Forest Rural Fire Association of New Zealand (FRFANZ) Committee.

“Having a farmer represented on the FRFANZ Committee is useful to getting balance in the decision making around rural fire and Mr O’Donnell will be an asset to the team,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers National Board member and Rural Fires spokesperson.

“Farmers have long been using fire as a land management tool, but sometimes there has been a disconnect between fire authorities and land owners. The knowledge and understanding around the risks verses benefits has long been overlooked.

“Having farmer representation on the FRFANZ Committee will help ensure the consents and permits in place are founded on good advice. Fire is an intrinsic way of integrated land management, so we need to ensure the past generation’s knowledge and skill will not be lost.

“The Department of Conservation has often welcomed information from Federated Farmers and have been investing in using fire as a tool for land management by sending people to Australia to learn the techniques. Farmers, especially High Country and Arable farmers can make good use of this knowledge but getting those trained people involved in planning burns. It also provides practice for them to keep their skills up in dealing with fire in a controlled situation.

“Farmers often neighbour forestry blocks as well as having them on their property so they need to be an integral part of the communication and collaboration process, ensuring best management practices in managing fire risk and community safety,” Mr Crofoot concluded.