Productivity growth for forester after grant support

A forestry business in South Oxfordshire has received a £10,000 LEADER grant to invest in a forwarding trailer to expand its operations.

Benjamin Manning has been felling timber for nine years as the owner of Chilterns-based B.M.T.S Forestry, conducting the woodland management on a 400 acre site and managing several smaller local woodlands. Benjamin recently purchased a tractor that enabled him to take on larger contracts, but has now taken a further step by investing in a tractor-based forwarding trailer that will bring an increase in productivity and efficiency.

These increases would have been in jeopardy but for the LEADER funding, as Benjamin explains: “The LEADER funding was critical to this project. Without it, the trailer would not have been purchased and the business would have had to continue relying on the availability of busy local contractors to extract felled timber, which would have meant plenty of lost opportunities for B.M.T.S Forestry.

“With the trailer in place we will now be able to fell and extract small volumes of timber from local woods whenever it is convenient for us. This will enable us to expand the amount of woodland we manage, increase the amount of economically active woodland in the local area, and sell more timber and firewood into local markets.”

LEADER Programme Manager, Will Dallimore was impressed with the project: “Benjamin identified a great solution as to how to increase productivity and I am just as positive as him as to the potential outcomes. I am delighted that this project will meet several LEADER Programme objectives by boosting local woodland activity, sparking productivity growth for a small rural businesses and providing other local businesses with sources of income.”

Indeed, the project will not just benefit B.M.T.S Forestry. It is estimated that once the benefits of the trailer start to be felt, the additional timber and firewood extracted from the woodlands in the Chilterns will generate approximately £34,000 a year for the local rural economy.

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