Farmers encourgaed to find out about grants at Ayr County Show

Farmers attending the Ayr County Show on Saturday 12th May are encouraged to find out more about grants of up to £8,710 per hectare to help cover the cost of woodland creation on their land.

Virginia Harden Scott, Woodland Creation Programme Manager for the Central Scotland Green Network area will be attending the show at Ayr Racecourse to talk to those wishing to investigate opportunities for integrating woodland creation schemes into existing rural businesses.

Virginia will also provide information on how diversifying their existing farm businesses with forestry can enhance their environment and provide direction on where to go to get further advice about planning, layout, suitable species choices and Grant aid.  

Virginia said: “Woodlands can be an asset on any farm and can provide a number of benefits to farm businesses, including providing on-farm timber, improving shelter for livestock or bringing underutilised ground into production for secure longer-term incomes.

“By attending the Ayr County Show we hope to increase the awareness of the grants scheme to farmers in Ayrshire and let them know of the opportunities the scheme provides and what they could be eligible for.  We work with a number of farmers already that have benefited from funding, but we would like to talk to more.”  

As part of an ongoing programme of work to promote woodland creation in the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) area, Central Scotland Green Network Trust, on behalf of Forestry Commission Scotland, are providing support and advice to landowners within the CSGN area.

The Forestry Grant Scheme, which is part of the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP), offers farmers attractive funding opportunities to plant new or manage existing woodlands.

Farmers and landowners could receive grants of up to £8,710 per hectare towards the costs of new woodland planting, including a special CSGN additional contribution of up to £2,500 per hectare, grant monies for fencing and tree protection are available on top of this. 

The CSGN area covers Ayrshire, the Central Belt and extends across to East Lothian up into West Fife and parts of Stirling.  Between October 2015 and March 2018, over 287 Woodland Creation projects worth £25.5 million and covering 3,743 ha have been approved within the CSGN area. 

Land planted under the FGS remains eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme and the income from forestry is tax free.  It is possible to apply for fencing and planting works to be completed in separate financial years (which may assist with project cash-flow).  The scheme is open to applications all year round, providing flexibility and helping farmers avoid busier spells such as harvesting, calving or lambing periods.

Iain MacDonald, owner of Ardoch and Threepland Farms, received grants from the FGS and is already seeing the benefits of integrating farming with forestry. He said: “The woodlands originally helped keep the cows out of difficult terrain during calving and now prevent sheep from hiding in inaccessible parts of fields during gathering, which has reduced the resources required and has increased the value of previously unproductive ground.

“Without question, the planting of woodland has been a big success and has benefited the overall running of our sheep enterprise.”

Virginia adds: “All farmers and landowners are welcome to come and talk to us at the show about the potential opportunities for integrating woodland creation schemes into their existing businesses and related grant support.”

Virginia will be at the Ayr County Show, Ayr Racecourse, Saturday 12th May 2017, located in the craft, food, and shopping marquee.  Visitors to the stand will receive a free garden tree.

For more information on woodland creation opportunities, please contact Virginia Harden Scott at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01501 824 197. 

 

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus bidh e a’ toirt seachad comhairle air poileasaidhean coilltearachd agus air riaghladh. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta as leth Ministearan na h-Alba.
  3. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6508 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.