Donegal man takes 2020 RDS Teagasc Farm Forestry Award

The winner of the 2020 RDS Teagasc Farm Forestry Award has been revealed as Donegal farmer Ross Buchanan.

Usually presented in front of a packed audience in the RDS Concert Hall as part of the annual Spring Livestock and Forestry Awards, this year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the award was presented to Buchanan on his farm and forest in Carndonagh on the Inishowen peninsula.

Meanwhile, the Special Commendation Award in the 2020 RDS Teagasc Farm Forestry Category went to Patrick Rhatigan, Roosky, Co. Roscommon.

In congratulating Buchanan and Rhatigan on their awards, Prof. Gerry Boyle, director of Teagasc, said:

“Teagasc is delighted to be associated with the RDS Forestry Awards through our sponsorship of the Farm Forestry Award Category.

This award recognises farmers like Ross and Patrick who are achieving sustainable integration of their forestry and farming enterprises.

“This will help farming families, and the communities in which they live, to build resilience by optimising the many economic, environmental, practical and social benefits that can accrue from farms and forests working together.”

Michael Duffy, RDS chief executive, added: “It is more important than ever to recognise the work of our farmers and foresters, who are contributing to the sustainable development of Irish agriculture.”

Ross Buchanan, winner of the RDS Spring Awards 2020 Teagasc Farm Forestry Award. Image source: Clive Wasson

From traditional Donegal sheep farming stock, Ross Buchanan manages 48ha of diverse woodlands planted on an outlying farm in 2006.

This opened up new opportunities for farm diversification, and as such forestry is now very much an integral part of the farm, it was noted.

“Trees were once an integral part of Inishowen’s heritage. Restoring some measure of the biodiversity and scenic value of woodland to promote the peninsula is something I would love to see in my lifetime,” he said.

Teagasc forestry advisor Steven Meyen said:

Ross’s story shows how farm forests can be a multipurpose resource and meet a range of owner objectives.

“Applicants for the RDS Teagasc Farm Forestry Award reflect a range of sustainable and innovative approaches to making farming and forests work together with benefits for all.”