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2019/20 RDS Forest and Woodland Awards launched

2019/20 Irish Forestry Awards closing date approaching • Three prize categories cover all forestry purposes • Awards part of RDS Spring Awards – celebration of rural agri-economy

2019/20 RDS Forest and Woodland Awards launched
Pictured at the Launch of the 32rd RDS/Forest Service Irish Forestry Awards on the farm of Gerard Deegan (winner of the Teagasc Farm Forestry category 2018): Michael Carey, RDS Agriculture and Climate Change Committee; Olive Leavy, Westmeath Forest Owner Group; Rory Greene, DAFM; Gerard Deegan, Forest owner; Liam Kelly, Teagasc; Bernard Kiernan, MidWestern Forestry and Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc

2019/20 RDS Forest and Woodland Awards launched

A prize fund of €9,000 should encourage foresters to apply for the 32nd RDS-Forest Service Irish Forestry Awards which are now accepting entries. Prizes span the full range of possible forestry use, from small public amenities to large commercial operations anyone with woodland is eligible to enter. In fact, you can even nominate friends and neighbours!

Speaking at the launch of the 2019/20 RDS Forest and Woodland Awards on the farm forest of Gerard Deegan of Cloghan, Mullingar County Westmeath, Dr Michael Carey of the RDS Committee of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said: “From magnificent historic woodlands, to innovative commercial forests, the RDS awards highlight inspiring examples of the benefits and diversity of forestry in Ireland. We all have a responsibility to be climate smart about land use. With so many economic, environmental and social benefits associated with good forestry it is beneficial for all of us to promote real-life examples of best practice. The RDS is proud to play its role in highlighting the very best in Irish forest and woodland management.”

Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc said: “Teagasc is delighted to be associated with the RDS Forestry Awards through our sponsorship of the Farm Forestry Award Category. Today I am delighted to be on the wonderful farm forest of Gerard Deegan who is this year’s worthy winner. Well planned and actively managed forests and woodlands have strong potential to complement other farming systems.  I congratulate Gerard on his excellent integration of forestry as a valuable enterprise within the overall farming profile.” Concluding, Professor Boyle added: “Teagasc encourages all forest and woodland owners to enter for the 2019/20 awards which are being formally launched today”.

Gerard Deegan, the owner of the award winning forest hasn’t regretted his decision to plant part of his farm with trees. He described how he is ‘privileged to accept the RDS Teagasc Farm Forestry Award and will enjoy it’. The planting option has resulted in a better work-life balance for Gerard as well as reduced stress levels. Gerard continued: “Since planting, I feel my farm is more manageable and I can now fully appreciate and enjoy what my farm has to offer.  Forestry has allowed me to breathe again”.

Award winners of each category: Production Forestry, Teagasc Farm Forestry and Community Woodlands, will be announced at the 2020 RDS Spring Awards which will take place in the RDS Concert Hall in April next year. Focusing on sustainable, climate-smart agriculture, the RDS Spring Awards have gone from strength to strength in recent years and attract over 250 attendees.

Application forms are available at https://www.rds.ie/forestry or via forestry@rds.ie or on 01 240 7215.