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The Laois Farm Forestry Group was established in 2009 to represent private forestry owners in County Laois who planted forestry prior to 2002. Promoted by the Teagasc Forest Development Department, IFA Farm Forestry and local forest owners, it provides a representative voice for private forest owners with plantations approaching or at the timber production stage. The group is currently providing a useful networking and knowledge sharing function, with particular emphasis on preparing plantations for first
Members recognise and are informed of the challenges facing the private forestry sector; the relatively small scale of farm forestry plantations and the lack of practical experience among owners. The Laois Farm Forestry Group aims to tackle this issue by facilitating knowledge sharing and the development of economies of scale among members to optimise returns from farm forestry enterprises. There is a clear mechanism in place, both in terms of the financial and institutional resources available to facilitate farmers coming together in an initial informal cooperative structure and network. There is clear potential and
interest to develop a formalised forest owners’ cooperative among members of the organisation.
Cooperative working has been recognised as having the potential to reduce overall road development costs within the county and possibly lead to opportunities for further cooperation during thinning operations and timber sales.
In 2010 Laois Partnership provided funding to the Laois Farm Forestry Group to commission a study of the farm forest resource in County Laois. This study highlighted the potential of the forestry sector in Laois. Click here to view.