19 Sep 2023

Fife to host practical agroforestry event

Farmers who are keen to learn more about the benefits of agroforestry for their business are being invited to a free event in Fife.

Roger Howison, who owns Parkhill Farm in Newburgh, is hosting the afternoon session of the event, which is part of the Integrating Trees Network initiative supported by Scottish Forestry and the Scottish Government.

The practical immersive event is being held on Wednesday 27th September 10am – 3pm, and also features agroforestry expert Stephen Briggs, who is coming from Cambridgeshire to share his long standing expertise.

Agroforestry can be described as an integrated approach to land management, where trees and agriculture co-exist to provide multiple benefits, all of which can diversify a farm business.

Mr Howison has successfully been growing apples and barley together. He said:

“When our family came back from Canada in 2011 to farm at Parkhill we wanted to help improve biodiversity, tackle climate change, and grow something that we could process and market ourselves.

"We became interested in apples because of Newburgh’s rich history of growing this humble fruit and its connection to Lindores Abbey and Distillery, whose monks, way back in the Dark Ages, introduced horticulture and agriculture to the area.

"We were inspired by what Stephen Briggs had established on his farm so we pushed forward with planting 750 apple trees in our malting barley fields. 

“It’s working well and I am very pleased to be able to share our experiences with other farmers who might want to dip their toes into agroforestry.”

The Integrating Trees Network has been a growing success over the past years with  nine volunteer hosts around Scotland, all using their farms or crofts to demonstrate the multiple benefits of growing trees.

Lyn White, forestry and farming development officer at Scottish Forestry, added:

“There’s an increased interest in agroforestry in Scotland so we are delighted that Roger and Stephen are able to give others a valuable insight into what has worked well for them over the years.

“It’s also a good time to look into in agroforestry as Scottish Forestry has increased the grant rates available and added other positive measures to encourage this type of tree planting.”

The event is free and booking is available here.