A Welsh hill farm has secured a sustainable future by planting 120 acres of forestry through the Woodland Creation Scheme, a move that guarantees a long-term income for the business and makes better use of marginal land.
The Lydiate family farm sheep at Tynyberth, a 500-acre Farming Connect Demonstration Site at Abbey-Cwm-Hir, near Llandrindod Wells.
When Jack returned to farm in partnership with his parents, John and Lynne, in 2016, he looked at options to put the business in a stronger position going forward.
At its highest point, the land rises to 1,750 feet and the potential of the more marginal land was not being maximised through livestock production.
Forestry was a good match for this land so, with advice from Geraint Jones, Farming Connect Forestry Technical Officer, Jack applied to be part of Glastir Woodland Creation, a Welsh Government scheme that provides financial support for new planting.
In 2017, 120 acres of hard and soft wood trees were planted and another 30 acres will be planted in 2018.
The agreement provides the Lydiates with a guaranteed annual payment for 12 years; 15 years after planting, the first thinnings will be taken and, after 30 years, the Lydiates can fell the mature forest and sell the wood as timber.
Jack, who with his wife, Katherine, has three young children, Milly, Trystan and Erin, says this diversification secures a future for the next generation.
“It gives me a baseline for when the trees need to be felled and secures a future for the children,’’ he says.
Geraint also made Jack aware of the Woodland Carbon Code. “The volume of carbon sequestered is calculated in terms of carbon tons and once validated can be sold to companies offsetting their carbon footprint,’’ Geraint explains.
The site at Tynyberth is forecast to sequester in excess of 8,000 carbon tons over the period of the contract.
“If it had not been for Farming Connect we would not have been aware of this scheme. It provides another important income source for the business,’’ says Jack.