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North East farmers could be the first in Scotland to benefit from a machinery ring service designed to improve woodland management.
The aim of the pilot initiative is to research the demand for a machinery ring service that will enable farmers to cost effectively manage their existing woodland, encourage new planting and boost their farm income.
By working in a co-operative way farmers using a machinery ring avoid expensive capital costs associated with the purchase and maintenance of bespoke machinery and specialised labour.
Forestry Commission Scotland and Ringlink (Scotland) Ltd are working in partnership on the pilot scheme that will run from now until March 2012 and is being co-ordinated by SAOS.
Jim Dewar, Forestry Commission Scotland, explained;
“There are many reasons trees can be valuable assets and complement core farm business. We are aware that many farmers already have potential revenue generating woodlands or have unproductive marginal land that is ideal for tree planting.
"We also recognise that for financial reasons many are being put off by the perceived costs of managing their woodland efficiently. We hope that this machinery ring project will help break down some of those barriers.”
Graham Bruce, Ringlink (Scotland) Ltd., added;
“Machinery rings are a tried and tested concept that are familiar to farmers. We are constantly seeking ways to enhance the services we provide for our members.
"This pilot initiative adds a new dimension to our service portfolio which if successful could be rolled out to other machinery rings across Scotland.”
Some of the benefits to farmers of having well managed woodland include;
• a potential increase in the amount of ‘productive’ land
• effective shelter for their livestock and crops
• ability to produce woodfuel and timber for use on-site or sale
• creation of sporting amenity, and
• carbon sequestration
Farmers interested in capitalising on shared machinery, labour and contract costs for managing their woodland, new or existing, should contact their local Ringlink office. For general forestry advice contact Matt Young, firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate and manages the 660,000 hectare national forest estate, protect, enhancing and expanding Scotland’s forests and woodlands in ways that deliver benefits to people, communities, biodiversity and the economy. For guidance relating to farm woodlands visit www.forestry.gov.uk/farmwoodlands
2) Ringlink (Scotland) Ltd. Is the largest machinery ring in the UK and operates throughout the whole Grampian Conservancy area with offices in Elgin, Oldmeldrum, Laurencekirk and Ardler. Ringlink (Scotland) has over 2,500 members and an annual turnover of £30m p.a. (2010). For further information and contact details visit www.ringlinkscotland.co.uk