Forestry Programme: ACA hosts farm open days for applicants
The Agricultural Consultants’ Association (ACA) is hosting a series of farm forestry information days on farms around the country in the coming week.
The aim is to provide potential applicants to the schemes under the new Forestry Programme with information on the changes and opportunities in the new programme.
The first of these open days took place yesterday (Tuesday, October 17) in Furnace, Partry, Co. Mayo on a sucker, forestry and social farming enterprise.
The series of open days will continue over the coming week, with the following three events planned:
- Tomorrow (Thursday, October 19) at Everardsgrange, Fethard, Co. Tipperary (E91 D868), on an organic tillage and forestry farm;
- Friday (October 20) at Tullyvolty, Johnstown, Co. Kilkenny (E41 RT66), on a sheep, forestry, and proposed agroforestry farm;
- Wednesday (October 25) at Tawnagh, Brideswell, Athlone, Co. Roscommon (N37 Y324), on an organic suckler and forestry farm.
Tomorrow’s event runs from 10:30a.m until 2:30p.m, while the latter two events run from 10:00a.m to 2:00p.m.
Speaking to Agriland, Paddy Bruton, a forestry specialist with the ACA, said: “The new Forestry Programme has just been launched recently, and there [are] a lot of changes in the new programme. The ACA, with funding from the department, [is] holding four farm walks.
“What we’re going to be doing at these farm walks is talking to people who are thinking about planting, and also people who have existing forestry,” Bruton said.
According to Bruton, there is significant interest in the Native Tree Area Scheme, one of the measures in the Forestry Programme.
“We will be talking about and demonstrating the new Native Tree Area Scheme at the farm walks. I think that’s very much going to be of interest. To be fair there is huge interest in [that scheme],” he said.
Agroforestry will also form part of the open days, as will the issue of ash dieback.
“There are demonstrations of agroforestry set up on the farms, and again there is a lot of interest in that in the new Forestry Programme. The next thing that’s going to be of interest to people is ash dieback, particularly on the two farms in the south of the country in Kilkenny and Tipperary,” Bruton said.
“We have ash dieback on the forest that people planted in the past. We’re going to be talking about that ash dieback. How to deal with it…we’re going to be talking about that and informing owners of the options in addressing ash dieback.
“We’ll talk about… the 12 new forest types that are in if for people. We’ll be talking about the support schemes, forest roads in particular, and the Woodland Improvement Scheme also,” Bruton added.
The ACA forestry specialist said that the open days will also provide information on how the Forestry Programme interacts with other farm schemes, including the Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES), the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS), and the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS), among others.
Bruton said that attendees at the open days will learn “how these schemes interact together, so that farmers can utilise all of the schemes and maximise farm incomes”.
Each of the open days will feature a number of demonstrations throughout the farm to showcase the Native Tree Area Scheme, agroforestry, and ways to address the ash dieback problem.
The ACA is aiming to attract existing forest owners, and people thinking of planting land, to these open days.
Particularly, Bruton said the association is looking to attract “anyone thinking about taking up the option of native tree areas – there’s phenomenal interest in that – and anyone thinking about agroforestry…so people can actually visualise it and see how it works”.
The Forestry Knowledge Transfer Group Scheme will also be discussed.
“There should be a lot of information in [the open days] for people who have forestry and who are thinking about it. The new Forestry Programme is not a cure for all ills by any stretch, but there is a lot of positive stuff in it,” Bruton said.
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