‘Substantial grants available for agroforestry’ – Doyle

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle, has today highlighted the options available to farmers through the Organic Farming Scheme and Agro-Forestry Scheme.

Speaking at ‘BioFarm 2019 – Ireland’s Biological Farming Conference’ in Portlaoise, Minister Doyle noted the “many benefits” of agroforestry.

The focus of the event was on the capabilities of agriculture to combat climate change.

Minister Doyle pointed out the “substantial grants available” of €6,220/ha under the Agro-Forestry Scheme together with an annual premium of up to €660/ha.

L-R: Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle; Sean McGloin, network manager, National Organic Training Skillnet

He added that the agroforestry system “is ideally suited to farmers who are interested in forestry but who also wish to keep their land in agricultural production”.

He noted: “I therefore believe that it merits serious consideration.”

Addressing the issue of climate change, the minister noted that “Ireland’s food producers and farmers have a remarkable reputation internationally in terms of the sustainability of the food and drink we produce”.

There are opportunities out there. The market is demanding a more sustainable product and our grass-based livestock system is one of the best, but we know we can, and must, do better.

The conference, which is a two-day event, continues tomorrow, Wednesday, November 6.

About BioFarm 2019

The conference – which is organised by the National Organic Training Skillnet (NOTS) – is taking place over two days in Portlaoise, Co. Laois.

The conference aims to bring together international experts in climate change mitigation, soil specialists and agro-forestry experts.

Together with farmers, growers, researchers and advisors; they will be discussing how farms can be used to sequester carbon.

About agroforestry

Agroforestry is a land-use system in which trees are grown in combination with agriculture on the same land.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the system gives landowners the flexibility to graze and even cut silage and hay while growing trees for timber in the same field.

With agroforestry it is possible to grow quality timber with little or no impact on existing agricultural production.

An agroforestry option is available to landowners under the department’s Afforestation Scheme in the current Forestry Programme.