Longford farmer receives top class forestry award

A Longford farmer was awarded a top class honour at the RDS Forest Service Irish Forestry Awards which were held recently.

A Longford farmer was awarded a top class honour at the RDS Forest Service Irish Forestry Awards which were held recently.

Colm Foy from Ferefad, Longford received an RDS silver medal and a cheque for €2,000 from the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for Forestry, Shane McEntee, TD during the awards ceremony which were held on October 25 last.

Mr Foy’s forest is based at Ballymacleavy close to Ballynacarrigy in Co Westmeath and comprises a total area of 34.9 hectares made up of 30.7 hectares of conifers and 4.2 hectares of broadleaves - all of which were planted in 1995. A further 12 hectares were subsequently planted in 2012.

“The area was originally used for dairy farming and later for beef production before being planted,” Mr Foy explained. “The soil is mostly mineral and fertile and this is reflected in the high productivity of the woodland. Species planted include Sitka spruce, Norway spruce, Ash and Beech.”

The judging panel was particularly impressed by the extent to which Mr Foy adopted a “businesslike approach” to the development of his forest and also by the manner in which he enabled other woodland owners to benefit from his experience.

“We would like to congratulate Mr Foy and indeed all the other worthy winners this year,”  Tom Cannon, Chairman of the RDS Committee of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said, adding that forestry played a “significant role” in the Irish economy. “Apart from providing our largest source of renewable energy, Irish forests play a vital role in helping the county meet its international climate change targets through carbon sequestration.

“We would like to thank the Forest Service at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for its continued generous support which has seen these awards grow into the most prestigious awards in the forestry calendar.”

Founded in 1731, the RDS continues to fulfil its commitment to furthering the broad economic and cultural development of Ireland.

The RDS-Forest Service Irish Forestry Awards are part of the RDS Foundation Agriculture and Rural Affairs programme which aims to foster agriculture and rural development by encouraging the professional development of practitioners and supporting innovative projects.