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Minister of State McEntee Opens National IFA Farm Forestry Conference 2011

Shane McEntee TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with special responsibility for forestry, today formally opened the IFA Farm Forestry Conference being held in the Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise, Co. Laois.

Noting the theme of this year's Conference 'Working together to mobilise the private timber resource', Minister of State McEntee commented that "Encouraging people to plant forestry is one part of the ongoing development of forestry but there are also subsequent challenges including the mobilisation of that privately owned timber, which today's conference will be discussing."

One element of the conference was a discussion on the experiences of forest producer groups, a number of which have been formed throughout the country over the last number of years as a means by which forest owners share information and experiences and, in some cases, co-operate in marketing their products to achieve economies of scale.   At the Conference, the IFA Farm Forestry section were also launching "A Practical Guide to Forest Owner Organisations" to assist and advise forest owners on the formation of such groups.  The Minister noted that "the private timber resource is becoming a significant element of our timber supply with privately owned forests now accounting for about 46% of Ireland's forest resource.  Another feature is that these are mainly owned by farmers."

Highlighting the importance of extracting the privately owned timber and bringing it to market, the Minister of State added "In addition to the traditional outlets in the wood processing sector, wood energy has developed significantly in the last number of years.  The increasing price of fossil fuels and the increasing focus on the use of green energy are both factors in this development.  I understand that the aim of the IFA project, being launched here today, is to assist forest owners in Ireland to increase wood output and usage."

Referring to the recent inclusion of forestry in his brief, Minister of State McEntee added that he looked forward to meeting and working with representatives of the forestry sector to sustain and develop the sector. 

Date Released: 28 April 2011