Woodland Trust launches new booklet with a helping hand from the Agriculture Minister
Farming is an important part of our economy, with around 27,000 farms in Northern Ireland covering around one million hectares of land. At a time of financial challenge, the Woodland Trust brings a refreshing message to farmers, citing woodland as a reliable, growing and valuable investment for the future.
The Woodland Trust is offering farmers and landowners all the advice they need to get their planting underway and has teamed up with Michelle O’Neill, Minister for Agriculture, to launch its new free colour booklet ‘Trees for farms in Northern Ireland.’
The report details the many benefits of planting small areas of native trees on less productive parts of the farm and gives guidance on sources of funding.
For a start, trees, woodland and hedgerows provide winter shelter and summer shade vital to the welfare and productivity of livestock. Trees also improve water quality and reduce the risk of flooding. And today, more and more landowners are planting for wood fuel, with two to three hectares of native woodland providing enough fuel to heat a typical farmhouse.
Included are case studies of three farmers who have planted trees in order to manage their farms more effectively, plus a foreword by renowned Ulster Farmers’ Union President, Harry Sinclair.
Mr Sinclair said: “Whilst trees and farming can often be seen as contradictory and competing land uses, thoughtful use of trees on the farm can have real benefits in supporting good husbandry. There are good examples of where farmers have taken advantage of the grants available and have planted trees, making use of unproductive corners or strengthening hedges and shelterbelts. These are now reaping real benefits providing shelter and shade to livestock and crops, and wood fuel for the farmhouse or for sale.”
Minister O’Neill added: “In line with Forest Service aims to promote economic and environmental benefits, provide recreational opportunities and to secure a steady expansion of tree cover, I am delighted to launch this booklet. Woodland is a growing and valuable investment for the future and I would encourage farmers to consider integrating tree planting in their farm business. The booklet includes good case studies about farmers who have already benefited from their forestry investment and I hope this will encourage others to consider tree planting which will complement our forestry strategy.”
The document is available to download from www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/farming
To request a hard copy, or to find out more contact the Woodland Trust on 0845 293 5689.