The Western Forestry Co-op was established in 1985 by the ICOS and the seven main dairy co-operatives in the west of Ireland. Its purpose was to encourage and support farmers to afforest the marginal areas of their farms.
In the early years, the co-op's activities were focused on promotion of forestry in the west. In 1987, the first group afforestation project on seven adjoining farms was planted in Co Sligo - it is known as the Ballindoon Forest Group.
This was used as a forestry demonstration unit with the farmers involved happy to be part of the promotional effort.This resulted in the establishment within an 8km radius of 18 other groups of farmers that planted over 300ha of marginal farmland over the following three years. Some of these forests are now being harvested. Services nowadays include forest establishment, forest management planning, timber harvesting and the construction of forest roads. They also offer a forest insurance scheme to their members. For details see: westernforestrycoop.ie.
The Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA) was formed in 1977 to support the development and expansion of private sector forestry in Ireland and to represent and inform woodland owners.
It is now the recognised national representative body of private woodland owners in Ireland, providing a wide range of support services. These services include newsletters and sometimes other publications circulated free to members.
For the past 26 years, an annual Forestry Yearbook has been produced by the Association. This contains industry information, forestry statistics and an extensive directory of services.
Three to four field days are organised each year to various woodlands of interest around the country. These field days offer participants the chance to exchange ideas and benefit from the experience of others.
Through their ITGA membership, Irish timber growers are represented on a range of industry working groups. The ITGA regularly makes representations on behalf of private timber growers. Find out more about the Association at itga.ie.