New IFA forestry chair aims to ‘simplify’ licencing system

Vincent Nally from Emper, Ballynacargy, Co. Westmeath, has been elected as chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Forestry Committee.

Speaking to AgriLand, Nally explained that he is a drystock farmer who keeps steers and bulls and runs his livestock enterprise side by side with a forestry enterprise. He says he “plants pockets of land, rather than trying to reclaim it”.

“The forestry has complemented my farm, adding to the biodiversity and scenery on my lands.”

Nally was elected to the post last Friday (December 7), and will succeed Pat Collins from Co. Roscommon who has held the position in recent years.

He added that he intends to lobby for the simplification of licensing processes in the sector.

“It can be difficult to get thinning licences and roads sorted in forestry. I plan on lobbying to make the system more simplified for forestry owners.

I think forestry is going to become centre stage in agriculture. It’s a tool to sequester carbon and it’s advantageous to farmers in terms of diversification.

Continuing, Nally said: “I believe that there is a whole lot of benefits to forestry and it’s a viable option for farmers to plant some of their land.

“We are hearing about multinationals buying up land and planting it, but forestry is a good investment – one would have to ask why are people choosing to sell their land as opposed to planting it themselves?” he said.

The new forestry chairman added: “The more immediate plan is to promote forestry and encourage farmers to consider it – even on a small amount of land. I believe this might help reduce the cases of blanket coverage in Leitrim.”

Concluding, Nally said: “Forest owners are getting no recognition for the amount of carbon they are sequestering, and I hope to address this.”