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20 March 2018: A capacity crowd saw tree growers and timber experts from the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane attending a two-day workshop in the Northern Rivers region of NSW earlier this month.

The course was presented by Quality Timber Traders, a joint venture of two groups of tree farmers from northern NSW and south-east Queensland supported by Farming Together.

The success of the workshop has prompted the organisers to start planning an expanded course.

The event on March 10-11 started with demonstrations and discussions of wood-quality research work at Southern Cross University (SCU) in Lismore and then studied log, tree and forest measurements at Joe Harvey-Jones’ property in Eureka.

The following day saw the group visit a Rosebank property to study native cabinet timber planting, sawmilling and solar-kiln timber-drying before visiting Martin Novak’s Whian Whian property to study native cabinet timber planting, sawmilling and air-drying of timber.

The course was designed by forest scientist Rowan Reid (pictured) in 1996 and has been delivered to more than 2000 farmers across Australia. It highlights the conservation science behind tree planting and ways for farmers to make money from farm forestry. The program does not promote particular species, products or management options, but offers skills and support networks for farmers to manage and design their own farm forests.

Rowan was joined by a team of local experts and tree growers including Dr Graeme Palmer and Dr Kevin Glencross from SCU, Martin Novak and Dr Joe Harvey-Jones from the Subtropical Farm Forestry Association (SFFA), and renowned local furniture-maker Tony Kenway.

Quality Timber Traders (www.qualitytimbertraders.com) is a joint venture of tree farmers from northern NSW and south-east Queensland with support from Australian Agroforestry Foundation (www.agroforestry.net.au), the Farming Together Project (www.farmingtogether.com.au) and Southern Cross University (www.scu.edu.au).

The SFFA group received a $200,000 Farming Together, farmer group project grant to promote, process and sell sustainably grown rainforest cabinet timber.  Farming Together program director Lorraine Gordon said: “The combination of these two groups underlines the focus of Farming Together and the successes they are achieving highlights its purpose.”