A PRACTICAL half day session for farmers and land managers looking to diversify existing farm businesses with forestry is being held in Kirkcaldy next week.

The ‘Woodland: Making it Work for You’ event will be held at Kilrie Farm on Thursday June 14, and will provide information on the benefits of introducing forestry onto underutilised land and funding and support available.

Delegates will be given a tour of Kilrie Farm, highlighting its woodland development, a demonstration of woodland management machinery, and hear first-hand the benefits of integrating forestry with farming.

The event is being organised by the Central Scotland Green Network Trust and Soil Association Scotland, on behalf of Forestry Commission Scotland.

SAS farming and land use manager, Lyn White, said: “We really encourage any farmers, foresters and land managers who are contemplating the introduction of forestry onto their land to come along and find out more about the benefits and support and funding available. Plus, they will get to hear first-hand the experience of someone who has benefited from the scheme and discuss how it could work on their farm.”

The Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS), part of the Scottish Rural Development Programme, offers farmers within the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) area grants of up to £8710 per hectare towards the cost of new woodland planting, which includes a special CSGN additional contribution of up to £2500 per hectare. The FGS also remains eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme and the income from forestry is tax free.

Virginia Harden Scott, woodland creation programme manager for CSGN, added: “Farms across central Scotland have benefited from the introduction of forestry onto their land and we want to continue that success and help farmers in Fife maximise the productivity of their land by considering introducing woodland creation.

“Integrating forestry into existing rural businesses can bring wide ranging benefits. Well-designed woodlands can provide valuable shelter for stock, improving feed conversion rates; infiltrate water run-off to reduce diffuse pollution; increase biodiversity on the farm and help to address climate change. By planting new woodland, you are also growing a future timber resource, which can produce a new income stream in the long term as well as supplies of low cost wood fuel.”

For more information or to book your place, contact Jane Dingwall at Soil Association Scotland on 0131 666 2474 or email jdingwall@soilassociation.org.