Earn Money & Save The Planet
Farmers are now being offered further financial rewards, for improving the environment by planting trees. In addition to the EU set aside style bursaries available, the UK government has created a fund of £13 million for 2018, in a bid to attract landowners into planting more trees on their land.
The scheme, called the Woodland Creation grant is part of the wider Countryside Stewardship Scheme, which has an ambitious plan of planting more than 3 million trees across the UK. Initially, the government proposed a plan to plant 11 million trees but have since revised their figure. It is hoped that through this scheme they will create 1900 hectares of new woodland.
Benefits of woodland
The government have pledged their money and commitment to woodland creation because of the many economic and environmental benefits woodland brings. By introducing a financial incentive, the government hopes to reach their target of increased forest cover. The increased cover would bring;
- Increased mitigating effect for greenhouse gas and carbon emissions
- Increased coverage for new habitats to form
- Protect soil and water quality
- Improved landscapes and timber supply
- Improved drainage and reduced flooding.
Benefits for farmers
By committing to planting trees on your land, you not only improve the biodiversity of your land but you can vastly improve farm diversification and even support your farm for many years to come.
Woodland gives you the opportunity to trade with the local timber market as well as use some of the wood for your own heating and biomass systems.
Not only do you receive long term rewards and enjoy the new approach your farm is taking, but you can also receive up to £6,800 per hectare for planting, weeding and protecting trees.
The rise of agroforestry
Defra are prominent advocates for a new trend of agroforestry, and with the financial incentives now available, it may see more farmers diversifying the land to cater for this need and adopt the growing trend.
There is a surprising amount of benefits associated with the agroforestry approach of cultivating trees, crops and livestock on the same land. For crops, farmers may see improved yields thanks to the wind protection and moisture retention within the soil.
For livestock, the shelter and protection of woodland can significantly help animals, in both summer and winter. The protection from the heat in summer and the chill in winter reduces the stress put on the animal and can help to stabilise and regulate their feeding pattern, making it much more efficient.
While there is a growth of agroforestry in Scotland, it is plainly clear that more support is needed in England and Wales to improve the perception of agroforestry and to encourage more farms to take this approach with their land.
How to apply for your grant
If you have land available for forestry, then why not apply for funding and bolster your farm’s earnings?
For grants released in 2018, the guidance and application forms will be available from September 2017.
Remember, agroforestry will require its own specialist equipment to keep your farm in tip top shape. If you need to upgrade your tools and machinery, then visit the classifieds page for all your farm equipment needs.