Head Office: +353 (0)71 9161458 | Email Address: info@westernforestrycoop.ie

Recent Announcement Endorses Forestry as a Secure Asset

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Marina Conway, CEO Western Forestry Co-op

There was much discussion and questions last week from farmers and forest owners regarding the announcement of the €200 million investment fund for Irish forestry.  Western Forestry Co-op welcome’s the endorsement of the Irish forest sector as a viable investment and the confidence that investors have in Irish forestry. We welcome this as an endorsement of the viability of forestry as an alternative land use for marginal land coupled with our mild Irish climate that favours excellent growing conditions for commercial forestry.  Therefore forest owners should consider their options before selling their valuable forest asset and make a planned and informed decision.  Many forest owners who planted 20+ years ago have either exited or are exiting the 20 year forest premium payment and may be considering selling their forestry.  If this is the case then make sure that you have assessed all your options before doing so.  Farmers are well aware that forestry is a commercial asset and this asset can be used as a security against other loans.

For example you should assess the value you are being offered today versus the full value at maturity, the length of time till maturity, could the forest be felled earlier than full rotation and what would that value be?  Western Forestry Co-op can assess these options for you using long term average timber prices and volume estimates.  Many farmers are also recognising the value of leaving a replanted forest for the next generation, keeping the benefits associated with the forest enterprise in the family and the local community.  For example a farmer client who last year clearfelled 25 acres of forestry that he planted in 1988 (27 years) replanted this land and then signed it over to his children and still reaped €160k in to his pocket income tax free after all costs, Western Forestry Co-op managed the whole process from felling license to forest road, harvesting, replanting.  The farmer was delighted that all he had to do was lodge the cheque, secure in the knowledge that the land is replanted at no cost to his children and this will be their asset or pension fund in another 30 years.

It would be prudent to remember the old saying that “if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is”.  Western Forestry Co-op was set up by the main Co-ops in Western counties to provide a back up service to farmers entering forestry, to increase farm income and help increase employment in rural areas.  Forestry currently employs circa 700 in County Mayo and some 12,000 people nationally.  Western Forestry Co-op would advise all local famers, landowners and forest owners to seek advice or talk to the co-op before you sell. Please ring 071-9161458 for more information or contact your local co-op forester.

Balla Town Park NeighbourWood Project

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Cutting Ribbon Balla Official Opening750
Fairy Village Balla Official Opening750
Kids playing Balla Official Opening750
Marina leading Taoiseach Minister on Walk of Balla Town Park Woods750
Toaiseach planting tree Balla Official opening750
Tree Trail Balla Official Opening750
WFC Staff  Minister Balla Official Opening750
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Balla Town Park and Western Forestry Co-op and were delighted to welcome An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Mr Andrew Doyle TD  to the official opening of the Balla Town Park NeighbourWood community woodland.

Balla Town Park and Western Forestry Co-op started working on the initial application for the NeighbourWood project in spring 2015. The area of woodland for the project is 35 acres of old estate woodland that had developed in to semi natural woodland that was severely encroached by laurel, a non native invasive species that had completely choked areas of the woodland preventing any natural regeneration from occurring and making parts of the woodland completely inaccessible. The main task was to remove this laurel and it is now completely different woodland.  As new areas of the wood were being opened up, beautiful old Oak trees were being released that heretofore couldn’t be accessed, giving the woodland a new lease of life.  This is important when you remember that the in early times the village of Balla was known as Ros Dairbhreach meaning “the height of the Oak wood”, so it’s great to see these beautiful tall majestic Oak trees in these woods, especially as Oak is our national tree.

Work commenced in February 2016 and although the winter weather played havoc at times the project was completed by August 2016.  Works that were completed as part of the project include:

•    Planting of 3000 new trees
•    Respacing in areas where the trees were growing very densely
•    Stock fencing part of the woodland to protect against stock trespass
•    New 4 bay Car park
•    New Loop path and upgrade to existing paths
•    Rowan woodland grove was created
•    Picnic benches and seats along the paths
•    Information signs and map
•    Woodland habitat signs on the native woodland type and birds and mammals
•    Bat boxes and Owl boxes
•    Tree trail of 15 different trees in the woodland
•    Fairy village

For anyone who has been over to the woodland it is a treasure for the town of Balla both for the present and future generations.  Balla Town Park should be complimented on the management of their woods, in particular Brendan Burke who very dedicated to the woodlands.

The NeighbourWood Scheme which is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is an excellent example of a Government funded project that brings communities and woodlands together by helping to create woodland amenities for local people to use and enjoy and I would like to thank the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for continuing to support this scheme which is invaluable for ensuring community woodlands survive and thrive and remain a focal point in any community, and it was a pleasure for Western Forestry Co-op to be involved with such a great project and a dedicated and passionate community organisation as Balla Town Parks.

Large attendance at the Forestry Information Evening in Kiltimagh 25th January

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Western Forestry Co-op were delighted the large attendance at the Forestry Information Evening in Kiltimagh last Wednesday.

It was great to see so many faces old and new, farmers and landowners considering forestry and existing forest owners interested in learning more about thinning and harvesting in their forest and how they go about it.

Of particular interest to many on the night were real examples of returns from 1st and 2nd thinning operations as well as clearfell and reforestation.

We also outlined case studies of full, part time and retired farmers on why they undertook forestry and how the income from forestry has complimented their existing farm enterprise.

Western Forestry Co-op looks after all aspects of forestry from considering your options to harvesting and replanting and everything in between. We will be holding 2 more Forestry information evening’s in Tubbercurry (Cawley’s Hotel) on Wed 1st February and Glenamaddy (Rafertys Oakland Hotel) on Wednesday 8th February.

We look forward to another great attendance and hope that local farmers, landowners and forest owners will be able to attend, for more information please call 071-9161458.


Information Evenings Jan - Feb 2017

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Western Forestry Co-op are holding a series of information evenings in the following places.

  • Park Hotel, Kiltimagh, County Mayo @ 8pm on Wednesday 25th January.
  • Focus Family Resource Centre, Killeshandra, County Cavan @ 8pm on Thursday 26th January.
  • Cawleys Hotel, Tubbercurry Sligo @ 8pm on Wednesday 1st February.
  • Rafterys Oakland Hotel, Glenamaddy @ 8pm on Wednesday 8th February.

The focus of the evening is to inform landowners, farmers and forest owners about the generous grants and benefits of forestry in the area. 

Admission is free and refreshments will be provided.

Happy Christmas

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Happy Christmas From All at Western Forestry Co-op



Western Forestry Co-op are not sending out cards at Christmas but have chosen to make a donation of a “Tree Plantation” instead. We would like to wish all our customers, suppliers, and contractors a very Happy Christmas and New Year

Happy Christmas1


Press Release: New Training Course for Forest Machine Operators

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Minister Doyle Launches New Training Course for Forest Machine Operators in Ballyhaise Agricultural College - State of the Art Forestry Harvester/Forwarder Simulator

Press Release 9th November:

Andrew Doyle, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, today announced the development of a training course for forest machine operators at the Teagasc Agricultural College, in Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan.  The Minister also unveiled a new harvester/forwarder simulator, which will form an important element in the training.

Speaking at the announcement, the Minister said “A vibrant forestry sector provides an important source of revenue for the rural economy. The increase in timber production requires a trained workforce to enable harvesting, extraction and transporting of this timber. The training programme now being put in place will deliver recognised certification for students and is an important step in underpinning this sector”

The COFORD Report, “Mobilising Ireland’s forest resource”, noted that provision of a well-organised and structured training programme for harvesting machine operators is needed at national level in order to support high quality thinning operations and aid in the mobilisation of roundwood. The training programme now being put in place will deliver recognised certification for students to QQI and City and Guilds standards.  The new course, to be located at the Teagasc Agricultural College in Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan, will mean that students can learn these new skills here in Ireland rather than having to travel abroad.

Minister Doyle also highlighted the Forest Roads Scheme and his recent announcement about the provision of support for the adoption of Central Tyre inflation technology by timber hauliers as measures being taken by his Department to encourage and facilitate the mobilisation of the existing timber resource with the new forest machine operator course also contributing to that objective.

Concluding, the Minister welcomed the co-operation between industry representative groups and educators in the development of the training initiative and congratulated all of the parties represented on the Forest Machine Operator Training Group for their vision and commitment in bringing the project to fruition.

The lessons learned in the classroom and on the simulator can be taken to the next level on actual harvesters and forwarders. The commitments given by industry representatives will enable this continuity which will enhance the effectiveness and success of the course” said Minister Doyle.

Minister Doyle at department of Agriculture

Minister of State Andrew Doyle, T.D.,  at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, today announced the development of a training course for forest machine operators at the Teagasc Agricultural College, in Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan. Pictured with from L to R : John Kelly Principal ,Teagasc Agricultural College,Ballyhaise, Co Cavan, Marianne Lyons and Arthur Kearns , forestry department of Ballyhaise Agricultural College.

Source: Department of Agriculture.

Press Release: Opening of Financial Approvals for the Afforestation Schemes

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Minister of State Andrew Doyle Announces the Opening of Financial Approvals for the Afforestation Schemes

Press Release 21st September 2016:

Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships today, Andrew Doyle TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, announced that those forest owners with valid technical planting approvals may now apply for financial approval under the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme.

Making the announcement, Minister Doyle added, “Since responsibility for forestry was assigned to me earlier this year, I have been encouraged by the level of interest in, and enthusiasm for, forestry among farmers and indeed other landowners. I believe that forestry is a viable land use option either on its own or in combination with other farming enterprises. As a Wicklow based farmer, I am no stranger to forestry and am well aware of its benefits as part of a diverse farming undertaking.”

The Minister continued, “The availability of establishment grants for the initial planting of the forest and premium payments for 15 years are widely known but are not the full story. Those contemplating forestry should also factor in the generous tax incentives for thinning and final harvesting so that both the medium to long term returns from forestry are taken into account and I believe that investment in forestry compares very favourably with investment in other enterprises”.

While noting the socio-economic benefits of forestry, Minister Doyle also highlighted that forestry is poised to play an important role in helping to meet the EU’s new proposal on emission targets to 2030 and the resultant importance for our environment that the current level of new forestry planting is not only maintained but increased year on year.

The Minister of State commented, in this regard, that “My Department, in close co-operation with Teagasc and an industry representative group, is in the process of drafting a new promotion plan for the sector. This will involve a co-ordinated approach by the industry as a whole, the core message of which is that forestry is a good option for farmers. This message, and an indication of this close collaboration between all elements within the forestry sector, is outlined in the new videos on forestry which are being shown on the Big Screen here at the Ploughing Championships.”

Minister Doyle concluded by saying: “I am aware of concerns about forestry in certain parts of the country but I can assure people that forestry can play an important part in the development of rural economies and that this can be achieved in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. My personal experience of forestry has been very positive and I would encourage all farmers and landowners to consider forestry as an investment”.

Source: Department of Agriculture

Sept 2016 - Forestry Service Promotional Videos

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Please see below a selection of videos to promote forestry recently released by the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as shown at the Ploughing Championships 2016

Benefits of Afforestation Scheme

Forestry and Farming

Forests Benefit our Society

Tullamore Show - Sunday 14th August 2016

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Western Forestry Co-op attended the Tullamore Show on Sunday 14th August. A great time was had by all. The sky was cloudy but thankfully the rain stayed away and the temperature steadied at around 20 degrees.

Once again, plenty of people called to the stand to enquire about forestry. Our Harvester Joe McManus was very popular with many people watching his chainsaw sharpening demonstration, and enter our free draw to win a chainsaw.

“Our Tullamore Winner”

Congratulations to competition winner Thomas J Loonam – Attinkee, Banagher. Co. Offaly

Thomas J Loonam & Operations Manager Victor Barber

Operations Manager Victor Barber (right) presenting Thomas J Loonam his winning prize.

Bonniconlon Show - Monday 1st August 2016

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Western Forestry Co-op attended the Bonniconlon Show on Monday 1st August, a great day and great weather. Plenty of people called to the stand to enquire about forestry, attend the saw sharpening demonstration and enter the competition to win a chainsaw.

"Our Bonniconlon Winner"

Congratulations to competition winner Declan Haran - Cully, Charlestown County Sligo.

Marina Conway - Western Forestry CEO presenting Bonniconlon winner Declan Haran his chainsaw.

Western Forestry Co-op Harvester Joseph McManus is set up and ready for the show.

Please click HERE to find out more about Harvesting.


Joe McManus in full swing and generating plenty of interest.


Leitrim Farm success on display for Ministerial visit

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In July the Western Forestry Co-op was delighted to welcome Minister of State for Forestry Mr Andrew Doyle TD to Leitrim where he visited an afforestation site planted by Western Forestry Co-op (by local co-op forester and Ballinamore native Colm Gilheaney) for local farmer Sean Creamer outside Ballinamore, Co Leitrim. The Minister was attending meetings in Drumshanbo with local farmers to discuss issues relating to forestry and farming in the county. Sean is a suckler farmer and also works as a green keeper in the local Ballinamore golf club. The Minister (who is also a farmer and forest owner) and Sean were happy to discuss the benefits that forestry has been to their farm enterprises. Sean outlined how he took the decision to plant 25 acres of the wetter more marginal areas of his farm. Sean found that with the recent wet summers, this section of land was more and more difficult to graze each year. He contacted Western Forestry Co-op for advice on planting and species selection and after meeting on site and agreeing a plan; Western Forestry Sean Creamer Minister of State Mr. Andrew Doyle and Marina ConwayCo-op submitted an application for approval to the Forest Service. Sean’s father and grandfather had a great interest in trees and Sean had a preference for a mixture of broadleaves and diverse conifers to plant on the land. Sean is delighted with how the trees are thriving in an area where he found it very difficult to grow grass and was delighted with the additional benefit of receiving his single farm payment and forestry premium on the same land. Western Forestry Co-op has dealt with many farmers and landowners in Leitrim who are happy with their decision to plant, indeed some of these who planted in the late 80’s and early 90’s are now reaping the rewards through both thinning and clearfell income

ranging from €7,000 - €10,000 per acre at clearfell, which is income tax free. This income from harvesting is being used by these farmers and landowners to invest in other areas of the farm and assist in buying other land. Forestry is not for everyone, but for many it is proving to be a viable land use providing an alternative income on marginal land. When a local landowner plants some of their land, the income from the forestry premium and harvesting will be spent in the area, which will in turn benefit the local community. Marina Conway, Western Forestry Co-op CEO and a Sligo native, says that their Co-op ethos is to help local farmers diversify their land uses when it is beneficial and thereby retain the valuable forest industry and its benefits for the local farmers. The alternative is often that land is sold to external pension funds and the short and long term benefits leave the area.

Left to right: Monica Cooney Mohill office Western Forestry Co-op, Minister of State for Forestry Mr Andrew Doyle TD, Marina Conway CEO Western Forestry Co-op, Colm Gilheaney Forester Western Forestry Co-op

Our Location

Western Forestry Coop
ICOS House
Finisklin Road

Contact Details

Telephone: +353 (0)71 9161458

Email: info@westernforestrycoop.ie