The Agricultural Consultants’ Association (ACA) is organizing a series of farm forestry information days across the country to provide potential applicants with information on the new Forestry Programme. The first of these open days took place on Tuesday, October 17 in Furnace, Partry, Co. Mayo. The remaining three events are scheduled for Thursday, October 19 in Fethard, Co. Tipperary, Friday, October 20 in Johnstown, Co. Kilkenny, and Wednesday, October 25 in Brideswell, Athlone, Co. Roscommon.
The purpose of these open days is to educate individuals about the changes and opportunities in the new Forestry Programme. Paddy Bruton, a forestry specialist with the ACA, explained that there have been significant changes in the new programme and the ACA, with funding from the department, is hosting these farm walks to engage with people who are considering planting or who already have existing forestry.
One of the measures in the Forestry Programme that has garnered significant interest is the Native Tree Area Scheme. Bruton stated that they will be discussing and demonstrating this scheme at the open days. Agroforestry and the issue of ash dieback will also be covered during the events. Demonstrations of agroforestry will be set up on the farms, and attendees will be informed about the options for addressing ash dieback, particularly on the farms in Kilkenny and Tipperary.
In addition to these topics, the open days will provide information on the 12 new forest types, support schemes such as forest roads and the Woodland Improvement Scheme, as well as how the Forestry Programme interacts with other farm schemes including ACRES, OFS, and BISS.
The ACA aims to attract existing forest owners as well as those considering planting land to the open days. The association is particularly interested in attracting individuals who are considering native tree areas and agroforestry. The Forestry Knowledge Transfer Group Scheme will also be discussed during these events.
Each open day will feature various demonstrations throughout the farm to showcase the Native Tree Area Scheme, agroforestry, and ways to address the ash dieback problem. The ACA hopes that these open days will provide valuable information for individuals who already have forestry or are considering it. Although the new Forestry Programme is not a solution for all problems, Bruton believes that there are many positive aspects to it.