Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 22 March 2019

Farmers up demand for revamped forestry supports

Ken Whelan

The farming sector needs more incentives and supports for forestry expansion, the Irish BioEnergy Association (IrBEA) annual conference in Dublin heard recently.

Farmers need incentives to cluster machinery for timber production, a knowledge transfer programme on forestry and revitalised producer group, said IFA farm forestry executive Geraldine O'Sullivan.

The level of red tape imposed by the local and agricultural authorities on the smaller farm forests should also be reduced to manageable proportions, she added.

An estimated 40pc of our forestry is located on farms throughout the country and some 17,000 farmers are involved in the forestry programme.

Producer groups

These farm forests have an average size of 8ha.

Ms O'Sullivan called for CAP incentive payments to apply to every timber producer group in the country and not just to new entrants.

Such a move would allow all producer groups to set up a proper timber supply chain and the development of timber production centres.

The sector also needs educational programmes and discussion groups, said Ms O'Sullivan.

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This would have the additional advantage of keeping the industry local and creating jobs in rural Ireland.

Ms O'Sullivan added that farm forestry is a great economic opportunity for rural Ireland if approached in a sensible and co-ordinated fashion in the countryside.

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