Fisheries and Land Resources
March 14, 2019
Proposed Amendment to Forestry Act Would Reduce Red Tape for Farmers and Ensure Level Playing Field for Forest Harvesters
The Provincial Government continues to reduce red tape and help provide farmers with the tools they need to build a strong foundation in the agriculture industry, while ensuring a level playing field for forest harvesters who make their living selling timber.
A proposed amendment to the Forestry Act that went through second reading today in the House of Assembly will exempt holders of agricultural Crown land leases from requiring cutting permits to clear land, unless they intend to sell or trade harvested timber. The exemption is intended to simplify the land development process for farmers accessing Crown land.
The amendment would mean that Crown land agricultural lease holders no longer have to apply for a cutting permit when they clear land and use the harvested timber for on-farm use such as structures or fencing. The issue was identified during completion of the Agriculture Sector and Forestry Sector Work Plans, and an exemption resolves a long-standing concern for both the forestry and agriculture industries.
The Provincial Government recently launched a Forestry Sector Work Plan – a roadmap of 32 actions intended to diversify the province’s forest sector – in partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Forest Industry Association and forest sector stakeholders. The collaborative actions outlined in the plan are intended to foster diversification and increase efficiency, leading to creation of new business activities, support for ongoing work, and growth in private sector job opportunities.
As part of The Way Forward commitment to increase timber allocations and harvest levels by 20 per cent by 2020, the Provincial Government has achieved a 16 per cent increase in timber allocations and harvest levels over 2016 levels, and continues to advertise timber sale agreements and award five-year permits to support this growth.
“Farmers who access Crown land for agricultural use are not typically in the business of harvesting and selling timber. This amendment will reduce red tape and allow them to focus on the task at hand – preparing their land to help grow a strong and secure agriculture industry, while ensuring a level playing field for forest harvesters who are working to diversify and strengthen our forest industry.”
Honourable Gerry Byrne
Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources
“Amending the Forestry Act to exempt farmers from requiring a cutting permit will remove much of the red tape new entrants and established farmers face when accessing new land for development. This has been a long-standing issue and the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture is pleased to see a proposed amendment that will help farmers achieve their goals more efficiently.”
President, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture
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The Way Forward on Forestry
Fisheries and Land Resources
Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture
Information on a Proposed Amendment to the Forestry Act
Under the Forestry Act, Crown timber shall not be cut or removed from Crown lands or public lands except under a Crown timber licence, a timber sale agreement, or a cutting permit. A person shall not cut Crown timber for personal use without a domestic cutting permit, and a person in possession of timber must demonstrate timber legally obtained by referencing a cutting permit. Prior to the proposed amendment, forest land required for a purpose requiring clearing had to be logged of all merchantable timber under a commercial cutting permit before commencing, and the holder of a commercial cutting permit had to pay royalty for each class of Crown timber.
Under the proposed amendment, where an area of Crown lands is leased for an agricultural purpose under section 3 of the Lands Act, the lease holder would no longer be required to obtain a cutting permit to clear that land, provided that the timber cut is not offered for sale or barter. The timber can be used to support the farm operation through on-farm construction such as barns, structures or fencing, and timber used on-farm will no longer be subject to the application of royalties, resulting in less regulatory red tape.
2019 03 14 5:20 p.m.