Trees for tractors
Encouraging tree planting via tractor buying
It was an idea sourced from close to home for Pakenhambased YTO Tractors, as the local tractor manufacturers considered what they could do to help farmers after drought and other poor weather conditions caught many off guard. Since September, the company has given away 50 tree seedlings for every new tractor sold – either gifting them to the buyer or arranging to plant them themselves.
YTO marketing manager Sherryn Clarke says the company had been inspired in part by the example of her mother Kim, who had often taken her siblings and her on Landcare excursions as children – following a conservation effort by planting trees.
“We decided we actually wanted to help the land we all use for farming instead of just selling tractors,” she says.
“It is something that I grew up with and everyone in our office is from the same sort of area.”
Kim Clarke explains that YTO goes out of its way to contact plant nurseries in the region where the tractor buyer is from when deciding which trees to give away.
“We are planting whatever is indigenous to the area, so they get something that is going to grow in their area with as little upkeep as they can,” she says.
By so doing, the trees can help keep reduce salinity and hold soil in place as well as providing shelter for cattle, Kim says.
“Keeping the water table down, ability [to help prevent] erosion, [withstanding] low rainfall… they are probably your three major things,” she says.
Sherryn Clarke says the company’s best response so far was from attendees at the Elmore & District Machinery Field Day, held in Victoria last month.
“They were super excited by it,” she says.
“It’s a lot of what they are doing, and they are planting thousands of trees on each of their properties at the moment and they are building shelter belts and really turning it around and making it their own water table and things again which is great, so that was really heartening to see.”
As for the future, Sherryn says the company plans on keeping the campaign up for as long as possible – making a long-term contribution to the environment.
“Until we don’t have any people who want trees we are going to keep going,” she says.
“They’re logging and lots of forests are dropping everywhere else, so we would rather build them up where we can.”
We actually wanted to help the land we all use for farming instead of just selling tractors.
Left: YTO Tractors says farmers have responded positively to the treeplanting campaign