Veon is empowering farmers with forestry knowledge

Farmers are now being empowered to take control of their own destiny in the forestry sector through Knowledge Transfer Groups.

Farmers who own forestry or wish to diversify their income streams by planting forestry on their farms are being encouraged to do so by the Forest Service and engage more with the industry to ensure that their timber flows smoothly and generates an income tax-free profit.

Veon recently announced that it has secured funding from the Forest Service at the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine to run five Knowledge Transfer Groups (KTG) for forest owners on a nationwide basis.

These include KTGs in:

  1. Wexford/Kilkenny/Waterford;
  2. Clare/Galway/Tipperary;
  3. Leitrim/Roscommon/Sligo;
  4. Kerry/Cork/Limerick;
  5. Laois/Offaly.

The KTG programme focuses on developing and engendering greater understanding and know-how among forest owners of the valuable asset which they own and increasing their forest management skills.

Veon KTG outdoor meeting held in November

Adrian Redmond, Veon’s sales forester in the south-east stated: “Many of our new clients are farmers who are asset-rich and time-poor.

“The time they spend on traditional farming does not give them an economic return and they now consider planting forestry a realistic means of generating an annual flow of diversified, tax-free income whilst freeing up more time for other farming activity and their families.”

Knowledge is key and Veon reaches out to hundreds of forest owners every year.

“These are forest owners who planted 10 to 20 years ago and have not engaged with the forest industry yet – i.e. built a forest road or thinned their forest,” according to Adrian.

As most private foresters are first-generation forest owners, Veon strives to inform these owners and the KTGs are an important part of this process.

Veon forester marking timber to be cut before a thinning operation

Ronan Finnigan, local mid-west forest manager based in Veons Athenry Mart office, explained: “Irish forest owners need to familiarise themselves with the market prior to selling timber to ensure they are being paid a fair price for their product.

“Forest owners should bulk tender their forests so they can avail of economies of scale and secure better prices for their road construction and also for their timber.”

Ronan, who is running the Clare/Galway KTG, explained: “Timber processors greatly appreciate the scaling of thinning and harvesting which is more cost-effective for them; consequently, they are willing to pay a premium for the timber they can purchase in bulk categories.”

Veon forester supervising a lorry loading timber to bring to the market

As Ireland’s market leaders in harvesting and thinning, Veon will organise this bulk category system, grouping forest growers activity and timber whilst ensuring that each forest is treated individually and completely separate and also organising individual contracts with each grower.

Each KTG will hold seven meetings and the forest owner will receive €70 per meeting to offset the costs associated with their attendance.

Although all of Veon’s Knowledge Transfer Groups were oversubscribed this year by forest owners seeking to get a better understanding of the valuable crop they are growing, Veon has announced that it is now opening nationwide registration for its Knowledge Transfer Groups for 2019.

More information

If you are a forest owner and wish to join one of our Knowledge Transfer Groups for 2019, freephone: 1800-719-399 to register your interest or email: [email protected] for further details.