16 Jun 2020
Tree-mendous help on offer to farmers
Scottish Forestry has taken the extra step of appointing an ex-farm worker to speak directly to farmers about the benefits of integrating trees into their business.
Lyn White is Scottish Forestry’s forestry and farming development officer. She has a farming background not a forestry one and has already been very busy in the 10 months that she has been in post.
“Before we all got to know ourselves and our immediate family a lot better, I had spent the weeks before lockdown speaking at farming meetings all over Scotland,” said Lyn. “My message was about integrating trees on farms and discussing the benefits, options, funding and how it could all be a viable opportunity. No hard sell, just pointing out that this might be an option for farmers in uncertain times, and that Scottish Forestry is here to help.”
So why trees?
Farmers are aware of the multiple benefits of creating a new woodland on their farms. The trees can provide shelter of livestock, a future income from timber sales and redefine or renew farm boundaries. Added to this, the woodland can help in the management of stock plus create habitats for wildlife and help reduce the carbon footprint of the business.
Lyn said “What farmers might not be aware of is that all these benefits and more can receive funding through the Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS). By planting on marginal parts of the farm, helping to bring underutilised and difficult to manage ground into productive use, you can actually provide a secure longer-term income.
“It’s important for farmers to know that the grant scheme is open all year round. With the land planted under the scheme remaining eligible for the BPS.”
Funding for a specialist adviser to help with woodland creation
Scottish farmers and crofters can apply for up to £1,000 funding through the Farm Advisory Service (FAS) to enlist the help of a specialist adviser to help with woodland creation. The adviser will work with the land manager to add value to underproductive land by reviewing farm-specific opportunities and financial incentives available to create or manage woodland. This includes identifying the most suitable grants and assistance packages that farmers and crofters can use to optimise the use and value of their land.
This is great news and a fantastic opportunity for land mangers across Scotland who are interested in woodland creation. Through the funding, farmers can receive professional advice and discuss the farm’s objectives around creating new woodlands.
Further information on the grants on offer
• The guide to grant options for woodland creation
• Farm Woodlands
• There’s also an excellent podcast from FAS, SAC Consulting’s Forestry Team and Scottish Forestry. It answers ten of the most frequently asked questions around woodland creation.
• Case Study: Read how one farming family turned their livestock farm around by planting acres of hard-to-farm land with trees, creating shelter and an investment.