A prize fund of €10,000 is on offer for the winners of this year's RDS-backed Irish Forestry Awards.
The awards, which were launched last week, are open to all foresters, with the competition divided into three main categories: production forestry, multi-purpose forestry and community woodland. There is also a new competition for the smaller commercial producer.
Previously known as the farm forestry category, the new production forestry section has been divided into above 15ha and below 15ha, creating a more equal judging process, as well as encouraging smaller and new foresters.
Another change that enables all foresters to enter is the dropping of the previous requirement that entrants have a herd number.
The introduction of the multi-purpose forestry category is another significant change with woodlands and forests able to enter for recreation, education, commercial, or habitat reasons.
The purpose of the community woodland category is to encourage and reward projects which have been established and managed in a way which is sustainable and beneficial to the landscape, the local people, biodiversity and the economy.
The Irish Forestry Awards, which are supported by the Department of Agriculture, are part of the RDS Agriculture and Rural Affairs programme which aims to promote best practice and efficiency in farming to ensure farm household profitability and sustainability.
Entries close on June 12 and the awards will be presented in October. Application forms are available on the RDS website: www.rds.ie/agriculture, via email at email@example.com and by telephoning RDS agriculture on (01) 240 7215.