Another six farms are going into trees under the special forestry test. The test introduced four years ago to encourage more tree planting is working – but farming groups fear the rate of farms being sold and the effect on the rural communities. The government is currently reviewing the test but six sales are continuing. A couple of examples Gisborne’s Maunga-O-Rangi Station went on the market last year after being owned by the same family for 30 years. A German and Swiss company, has bought the 1275-hectare sheep and beef breeding farm and intends to convert about 920 hectares to commercial forestry. Earlyhurst is a 944-hectare sheep and beef farm near Masterton, which sold to an Austrian company for more than $15 million. About 812 hectares of that farm will be planted into commercial forestry. 550 hectares of farmland near Tuatapere in Southland known as Barclay Trust Farm has also recently sold under the special forestry test.
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