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Minister Wallace delivers key note address to the IFA Farm Forestry Conference 2006

Speaking at the opening of the IFA National Farm Forestry Conference in Longford on Friday, Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food with responsibility for Forestry, spoke of the need for farm foresters to be aware of the alternative economic management methods for forestry and emphasised the importance of using the optimum management system for their own individual forestry enterprises.

The Minister indicated that with the considerable investment that had been made by the farmers by way of commitment of their land and by the extensive system of State support, it was particularly important if maximum benefits are to be realised that the management of forests should be undertaken with the same dedication and commitment required of other agricultural activity.

The Minister highlighted the fact that forestry had featured highly in the recent conclusion of the Partnership talks and said that the new draft Rural Development Plan, which was now available for public consultation maintained the Governments commitment to Forestry. Partnership and the Rural Development Plan provided for a 15% increase forestry premium payable to farmers and also provided for further significant increases in the planting grants.

The Minister indicated that with the agreement of the European Commission, her Department was preparing the details of the main forestry schemes including afforestation to run into 2007 to ensure that there was no gap in issuing grant approvals or in planting before the Rural Development Plan was officially agreed.

Minister Wallace thanked the organisers of the Conference which would significantly help make forestry management decisions easier for the farmer and show prospective farm foresters that farm forestry was a serious option for the use of their land.

13 November, 2006

Date Released: 13 November 2006