The Timber 2015 show has been formally opened by Tom Hayes, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for forestry, at Stradbally Hall Estate, Co Laois.
"Given the importance of the forestry sector," Minister Hayes said, "I believe that it is fitting to showcase the many aspects of forestry and give people an opportunity to see forestry-related machinery, products and services."
Minister Hayes outlined his role and that of his Department, which is "to assist and facilitate the development of a competitive and sustainable forest sector in Ireland", adding that "the budget allocation of just over €113 million to my Department's forestry programme for 2015 is an acknowledgement by the Government of the contribution and potential of the forest sector".
The Minister said that "decades of investment in afforestation by the State has helped to create that sustainable natural resource, providing the raw material for a vibrant forest industry that makes a significant contribution to our economy, our environment and our society".
Timber 2015, formerly known as the Irish Forestry, Woodland and Bio Energy Show, is one of Ireland's foremost forestry and woodland promotional and information events. The event is held biennially and was previously held in Stradbally in May 2013. The event acts as a showcase for the forestry industry, forestry-related machinery, products and services. It also features a wide range of related demonstrations and activities, as well as featuring bio-energy, tree care and wood crafts.
Referring to the roll-out of the Forestry Programme 2014-2020, the Minister said: "I am confident that the new Forestry Programme will prove equally attractive to landowners, helping to generate even more interest in forestry and encouraging the planting required to supply our sawmills and timber processing industry into the future."
Teagasc focuses on Foresty Programme
Teagasc will have a marquee and demonstration area at Timber 2015, highlighting its advisory, research and training services. Teagasc's focus this year is on promoting and providing objective and unbiased support to the new Forestry Programme 2014-2020. The new programme provides new opportunities to landowners, including attractive forest establishment and support grants, according to Teagasc.
Nuala Ni Fhlatharta, head of the Forestry Development Department with Teagasc, said: "Teagasc urges anyone with an interest in developing a forest enterprise to consider forestry under this new attractive Forestry Programme. One of the key differences in the new programme is that a single premium rate has been introduced. This means that no distinction is being made between farmers and non-farmers. The new forestry premiums will also now be paid for a period of 15 years instead of 20."