Earlier this year, three hundred forestry owners from Wexford, Kilkenny and Laois gathered in Woodstock Gardens, Inistioge for the launch of the amalgamated Irish Wood Producers.  The event provided a platform for producers to consider their options in forestry, discuss supports available as well as networking and exchanging ideas.

IWP Launch 159small

The launch was the culmination of a process supported by the Vulcan Project.   It was attended by numerous partners and stakeholders, including representatives from Danone Ecosysteme, the Irish Forestry Service and LEADER Partnership Companies in Kilkenny, Wexford and Laois.  Burke Corbett, Chairman of the new Irish Wood Producers welcomed the group and spoke of the progress of forestry and commercial activities to date with 4,765 tonnes of timber harvested and clustered forest activities continuing across the region.

Vulcan began as a partnership between Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) and Danone, a multi-national food producing company.  Together, they aimed to establish and resource producer groups in the southeast region such as this new forestry group.

The Irish Wood Producers encompasses almost 400 members and focuses on working directly with and in the best interest of the primary producer. The industry has identified many opportunities for forestry growers.  The forestry industry in Ireland exports close to 80% of its products and has an annual value of 2.2 billion.  Local and regional groups are now exploring the potentials of their own forests.  Groups such as these can have a significant contribution toward rural development not just in Kilkenny but nationally.