Forestry ‘will yield the second highest level of returns’ for farmers

The importance of forestry is recognised by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in terms of its commercial, environmental and social values, according to the newly-established Forest Industries Ireland (FII).

Speaking at the launch of the Ibec group for the national sector yesterday (Wednesday, January 9), the director of FII Mark McAuley noted that the department recognises the sector as yielding the second highest-yielding level of returns for the average farmer over the lifetime of the commodity.

The director explained: “We met not that long ago with the department; we’re meeting with the ministers this afternoon (January 9).

“And the department has a pretty clear view of where forestry stands with farmers in Ireland. Obviously it’s providing over €100 million a year into the forestry programme, and most of that is spent with farmers clearly in the forestry premiums that they get the first 15 years after establishment.

“It will outperform beef; it will outperform sheep; it will outperform arable – that’s where it stands.” Continue reading “Forestry ‘will yield the second highest level of returns’ for farmers”

Agro-forestry as a huge opportunity for UK

Photograph: David Ceskin/PA

John Vidal is absolutely correct in identifying the multiple benefits of agro-forestry (A eureka moment – we’re finally planting trees again) but these benefits need to also be unleashed in the developed world, not only in Africa, Asia and South America.

Currently 9% of EU agricultural land is given over to agro-forestry, meaning it is not merely a fringe activity. The UK’s largest agro-forestry holding is just to the south of Peterborough, where Steve Briggs farms 125 acres of organic oats with strips of apple trees across; reducing wind erosion of the soil, increasing water retention and improving biodiversity – most bird species have increased by 20-50% with barn owls up 400%. Continue reading “Agro-forestry as a huge opportunity for UK”