The opening of the Forestry Knowledge Transfer Group (KTG) Scheme for 2020 was announced on Tuesday by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Andrew Doyle.
The opening is said to be conditional in light of current public health restrictions on group meetings.
The reasoning for starting the scheme now is to allow KTG organisers to submit applications and, if successful, invite private forest owners to participate and be in a position to host meetings later in the year when public health guidelines allow. Minister Doyle said the scheme will be kept under review in light of these guidelines.
There is a payment of €70 per meeting and a maximum payment of €490 per participant
Eligible participants need to attend seven meetings or outdoor events to complete the programme.
There is a payment of €70 per meeting and a maximum payment of €490 per participant.
Private forest owners are eligible to participate, irrespective of whether their forest is currently being grant funded under the Forestry Programmes or not.
The number of participants in the scheme in 2019 was recorded at over 600 forest owners
However, it is important to note that anyone who participated in the Forestry KTG scheme in 2018 or 2019 is not permitted to join the Forestry KTG scheme in 2020. The number of participants in the scheme in 2019 was recorded at over 600 forest owners.
The Department states that an approval process will apply to ensure that only applications to organise a KTG that reach a minimum standard are considered.
KTGs will be distributed 50:50 between forestry producer groups and forestry companies/forestry consultants.
Completed applications must be emailed to ForestryKTG@agriculture.gov.ie by 4pm on 26 June 2020.
In the event that the scheme is oversubscribed, applications will be rated on the following criteria:
Each KTG can have a maximum of 20 participants. The KTG organiser will receive payment of €6,500 for each group they facilitate.
The Department explains that the aim of the KTG Scheme is “to provide participating private forest owners with the knowledge they require to actively manage their own forest, mobilise their timber resource and secure a valuable income from the crop in the market”.
A review of the 2019 forestry scheme was also published this week.
Minister Doyle said the results are encouraging, with almost all participants managing forestry differently following the scheme.
Forestry KTGs provide an ideal base for forest owners to get in contact
The review is also reported as highlighting areas where improvements to the scheme can be made for 2010.
Minister Doyle said: “Forestry KTGs provide an ideal base for forest owners to get in contact and start co-operating to maximise scale.
“I encourage all participating in the scheme to continue working together either informally or as part of a producer group after the scheme has ended.”