WITH TIMBER prices at a 30-year-high, the Confor Woodland Show this September will be a major draw to English land managers and farmers looking to manage existing forestry and plant new trees.

“We welcome all farmers to the show who would like advice on what they could be eligible for in terms of grant support, planning, layout, species choice and if they already have woodland, advice on market opportunities and help to bring timber to market,” said Confor’s England manager, Caroline Ayre.

"With many concerned about the uncertainty over future subsidies, farmers are increasingly looking for ways to maximise productivity of their land and diversify incomes. Integrating forestry with farming offers valuable opportunities to do that. There are a number of attractive funding opportunities in England under Countryside Stewardship for woodland creation or improvement, tree health support or to prepare a woodland management plan."

Ms Ayre said that English land managers could claim grants of up to £6800 per hectare tax free to create new woodland, with the possibility of carbon offset income on top. There was also a grant that will pay all the costs of planning new woodland and getting the required approvals, with no commitment to go ahead with the planting if the plan that emerges does not not suit.

"Given the long term uncertainty of farming incomes, timber looks a good bet... and all forestry income is tax free," said Caroline. “With professional advice, farmers and landowners could maximise their business productivity by adding an additional tax free asset to the farm business. As well as bringing moribund woodland into management, land that may otherwise be under-utilised could support a land use that brings additional benefits including on-farm timber, shelter for livestock, biodiversity benefits and future environmental payments for wildlife, carbon and clean water."

The Confor Woodland Show will take place at Longleat Estate, Wiltshire, on September 5 and 6, 2019.

Alternating with Confor’s APF Exhibition, the show is for anyone interested in forestry, providing an excellent opportunity for those working in the industry to meet existing and potential customers. Climate Change will be the overall theme for this year's show, and for the first time, the farming community is being targeted with an invitation to come along and find out more about how to make woodlands work on their farms.

The 12th staging of the show will attract over 160 exhibitors, with more technology and service provider companies attending this year for the first time. The rural industry’s key manufacturers of working machinery will be present at the event and much of the equipment displayed will be designed for smaller woodlands and adding value to even single trees on the farm. In addition, there will be plenty of opportunities to get advice on how to manage your farm woodlands or how to start planting trees.

“The show has embraced the farming sector and recognises that many farms have small woodlands or even single trees and that these can still make an important contribution to farm budgets. Probably the greater proportion of our exhibitors have equipment designed for smallscale use. One of the key features of the show is that machines can be seen working under realistic conditions and most key manufacturers will be represented so you can compare machines side-by-side and see if they live up to what the brochures claim."

For show details and ticket bookings visit www.conforwoodlandshow.org.uk