THE winner of this year’s Farm Forestry Award, which seeks to promote excellence in timber production for commercial use, is Noel Kelly, of Spancil Hill, Co Clare.
Minister of State Sean Power presented him with a €2,000 cheque and an RDS silver medal at Castletown House, Celbridge, Co Kildare.
In the same category, this year’s merit award and a cheque for €1,000 was presented to John O’Connell, of Pallaskenry, Co Limerick.
The awards recognise forest owners who are employing the basic principles of sustainable forest management on their properties. They promote the forestry industry in Ireland, the challenges it is facing and measures it is undertaking to provide for commercial timber production, while maintaining a rich ecosystem to pass on to future generations.
The Farm Forestry Award is presented to farmers or cooperatives who excelled in forestry for commercial use from this year’s entrants.
Another category is the Bio-Diverse Forestry/Woodlands Award which is given to an individual or organisation that has helped develop or expand a new or existing forest habitat through natural and environmentally sensitive methods.
This award, which also includes a cheque for €2,000 and an RDS silver medal, was won by Joe Barry, Kilcock, on the Meath-Kildare border, with Jack Tenison, Castleblaney, Co Monaghan, winning the merit award and a cheque for €1,000.
In addition to the two award categories, a special Judges Award was presented to Samuel Henderson, of Drimark, Donegal Town.
The judges said they were most impressed by the great skill and dedication along with the massive effort that Mr Henderson had put into the development and management of his seven hectares of Sitka Spruce.
He was responsible for planning, mounding, planting, grass cleaning, fertilising, draining and high pruning of his woodland.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the RDS-Forest Service Irish Forestry Awards, which continue the society’s long tradition in forestry, which began in 1740 when it initiated a scheme of premiums that resulted in the planting of over 55 million trees, many of which still stand today.
The RDS said it is proud to continue its association with the promotion of forestry through this competition which is supported by the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
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