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Fund to help farmers diversify into forestry

By David Porter

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Farmers and crofters are being offered £1 million in funding to diversify into forestry and help with the fight against climate change.

Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing
Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing

The money is the first batch of funding from the Agriculture Transformation Programme, a key Programme for Government commitment that aims to support the agriculture sector in helping Scotland meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets.

It comes on top of £500,000 announced last week by Scottish Forestry to assist farmers and crofters in buying forestry and timber processing equipment.

The funding will help farmers and crofters to establish new small-scale woodlands, giving them a valuable new source of income.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “To meet our ambitious climate change targets and help to adapt to the effects already being felt, it is important that we support farmers and crofters in planting and managing forestry on their land.

“The planting funded through this scheme will be hugely beneficial to farmers and crofters, providing additional income and shelter for stock and crops.

"It will also benefit the wider community by helping to capture carbon, alleviate the impacts of flooding and provide new habitats for wildlife.

“This funding will also be a boost to the wider rural economy during our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.”

Grants from the new £1 million fund cover up to 90 per cent of the cost of establishing woodlands.

The £500,000 fund was announcedas part of the Harvesting and Processing grants package and will cover up to 40 per cent of the cost to small farmers and crofters of buying forestry and timber processing equipment or buildings.

Both grant schemes will be managed by Scottish Forestry.

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