"Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) is selling 29 "designer dairy farms" it has built on former forestry land around Tokoroa.
They range in size from 218 to 726ha and in price from $5.1 million to $10.4 million.
The company hoped their sale will bring $224.5 million.
Mike Fraser-Jones, senior agent for realtor Bayleys, said the CHH had begun selling off land in the area during the late 1990s but retained 30,000ha for development.
"The farms represent the end process of converting forested land back into a productive state," he said.That's right - if it isn't a farm - it is not productive and is a waste of space and time.
"Each farm comes with a new dairy shed configured for farm size and a mixture of herringbone and rotary systems. The farms are based on an assumption of three cows per hectare, have deep water bores and pressure water systems, and new residences.
"Each of the farms has been designed for optimum efficiency, with approximately 1,500 metres being the longest walking distance for the cows, centrally located, top-of-the-line dairy sheds and three architect-design homes located for both convenience and views," Bayleys says.
The farms were converted with substantial investment in modern machinery, roading and residences ahead of Kyoto Protocol rules that came into force in 2008 requiring that cleared plantation forests be replanted rather than converted to another use.
All farms are being sharemilked at present and are supporting 20,000 cows. None have a farming record longer than 18 months and the most recent began operations in June last year. It appears likely that the properties will also be marketed internationally, once a domestic marketing campaign has been undertaken, thereby satisfying Overseas Investment Commission rules.Hmmm this does appear to be a way to get a wider range of people on the land but which people?
Farming should not be about commodification. If they were really smart they first, wouldn't have converted the land, but seeing as how they are tricky dickies they got in before the kyoto protocol came into effect, why not convert the land into sustainable, organic, permacultural farms - it probably wouldn't have cost much more, maybe less. Then, instead of monocultural dairying, we could have hollistic farming that is good for the farm, the land, the ecosystem, the farmers, the community and the animals. I have the same view about any group that converts forestry into dairy. We must keep looking forward and thinking ahead - the rip, snort and bust approach is not the way to go.