Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Tom Hayes, TD, with responsibility for forestry, this morning opened ‘Talking Timber’, a timber marketing event organised by Teagasc with the co-operation of the Irish timber industry, which is being held in the Devon Inn Hotel, Templeglantine, Co Limerick.

The purpose of the event was to provide an opportunity for forest owners, whose plantations are at or approaching thinning age, to find out more about the timber selling process and to make contact with timber buyers in their area.  A second event will be held in the Lough Allen Hotel, Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim on Thursday, 12 September 2013.

Opening proceedings, the Minister of State commented that the event was timely given the age profile of privately owned forestry.

“It is important for forest owners to realise that thinning, where appropriate, improves the end value and quality of a timber crop and managing the thinning process effectively can provide an additional income source and ultimately help to maximise timber production and therefore income for the forest owner at final felling stage. Timber mobilisation is a key challenge faced by the forestry sector in Ireland.  It is essential that we encourage and facilitate getting the timber from privately owned forests onto the market,” he said.

Minister Hayes thanked the Teagasc Forestry Development Department and the various groups that assisted them in the organisation of the event, including representatives from local forest producer groups, the Irish Forest and Forestry Products Association, the Irish Timber Growers Association, forestry companies, forestry consultants and forestry contractors, for making the event possible.

He noted that last year’s events attracted more than 500 forest owners and hoped that this year’s attendees would find the events just as interesting and informative.

“There is no doubt that these events provide a fantastic opportunity for forest owners to learn about the process of thinning and selling their timber and to make valuable contacts among other owners and among the purchasers, professional foresters and others in the timber industry,” he concluded.

Teagasc Forestry adviser, Tom Houlihan who is organising the Limerick event today, provided some background. “Most forest owners realise the benefits of timely thinning. However many have queries about how to get the job done. Feedback from forest owners has also highlighted the need for a suitable forum to engage with key players involved in the harvest and purchase of timber. That’s why Teagasc has organised these Timber Marketing Days to facilitate forest owners with thinnings coming up to make contact with timber buyers. The day will also give forest owners a better appreciation how the timber-selling process works.”

Steven Meyen, Teagasc forestry adviser who is also organising the Leitrim event, explained what people can expect during the event today: “The day will start with an outdoor demonstration organised by the Irish Forestry and Forest Products Association where participants will have the opportunity to view the quality of timber required by Irish sawmills and the best way to ensure such quality. This will be followed by short, snappy presentations from Teagasc, a local Harvesting Contractor, a local Forest Management Company, the Association of Irish Forestry Consultants and the Irish Timber Growers Association. Local Forest Owner Groups will also give their perspective and share their experiences.”

“There will be ample networking opportunities at both timber marketing events as local companies and contractors will have a stand at these venues. This is a valuable opportunity for forest owners to meet with those buying timber in your area.”

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