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Doyle Highlights Benefits of Farm Forestry

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, Andrew Doyle, T.D., today visited the farm forest in Rathcash, Clara, Co. Kilkenny owned by Mr. Andrew O’Carroll, winner of the RDS Teagasc Farm Forestry Award 2018.

The visit to the farm forest was part of an event jointly organised by the RDS and Teagasc, which incorporated the launch of the new RDS Forestry Awards campaign. Addressing the attendance, Minister of State Doyle commented “I presented Andrew with his Award at the ceremony in the RDS earlier this year and I look forward, as Minister with responsibility for forestry and as a forest owner myself, to seeing the forests themselves”, adding “A noteworthy feature of Andrew’s farm is the way in which forestry complements his other farm enterprises. I think that this is an excellent example of ‘whole farm planning’ – the integration of a drystock enterprise, forestry and GLAS measures in a complementary manner in order to maximise the benefits to the overall farm enterprise”.

Referring to the Afforestation Scheme operated by his Department under the Forestry Programme he stated, “I believe that there are generous incentives available under the Afforestation Scheme and I believe that the farm forestry approach, where planting trees does not replace agriculture but works alongside agriculture as part of the farming mix, merits serious consideration”. He also pointed out that “Between €60 and €70 million euro is usually paid in forest premiums by my Department each year, which represents a significant stable income stream for forest owners.  There is also an online facility whereby forest owners may apply for their annual premium with payments issuing as early as January of each year”.

He congratulated Andrew on his success in winning the Teagasc Farm Forestry Award 2018 and for successfully integrating forestry and farming.  Launching the RDS Forestry Awards, he noted that there are four prize categories for the Awards and joined with the RDS in encouraging all woodland owners and managers to enter the Awards, noting that all woodlands, large or small, are of merit.  He also commented “Not only do the Awards recognise and reward the foresight and work of those who have planted, and now manage, forests, I hope that the RDS Awards will help farmers and landowners to learn from each other’s’ successes and experiences and that Andrew’s example will encourage others to consider the way in which forestry might fit into their own farm enterprise.”