Veon is the country’s leading provider of forest consulting services. Irish Tractor & Agri caught up with its West Regional Manager Ronan Finnegan to learn all about a company which has been helping its clients find such solutions, at both local and international levels, since its inception.
Set-up more than two decades ago, Veon is today Ireland’s largest purchaser of commercial forestry plantations for investor clients with access to a large database of potential sellers.
The company has generated more private direct investment into Irish forestry than any other forest management company in this country and offers forest management services to woodland estate owners, investors and farmers.
Ronan Finnegan has been the West Regional Manager at Veon for 12 months now, based in the company’s Athenry branch, and told Irish Tractor & Agri all about the business.
“I’ve been Regional Manager for the West/Midlands since March 2018 and had been previously working with my predecessor before I was appointed to the role,” Ronan explained.
“We’re based in Athenry and my job sees me going down as far as Clare and then out to the midlands. Clare would be seen to be the busiest because the forests are more mature down there.”
Ronan himself holds a B.Sc in Forestry (Level 7) and a (level 8) honours degree in Land Management (For) from Waterford Institute of Technology and is also an active member of the Society of Irish Foresters.
His role with Veon sees him focussing on meeting farm forest/land owners interested in afforestation, forest roads, harvesting and all related forest operations in the West/ Midlands region.
Indeed all of Veon’s professional forestry experts draw upon extensive knowledge across the forest industry value chain and draw on the full breadth of the company’s forest industry strategic advisory services to ensure that they maximise value for clients while also mitigating risk factors.
“Our service offers management planning, annual meetings and annual reporting,” Ronan outlined.
“We’d maintain the site for the first four years and for an annual fee the owner will have that peace of mind knowing that their plantation is being professionally managed by a dedicated team of experienced foresters.”
Veon provides an annual report on the condition of each plantation reporting on maintenance and items needing attention.
Annual site inspections include examination of all boundaries and internal stands, while annual work programmes and budgets are designed to protect and increase asset value.
“Annual site inspections are services that we provide for forests all over Ireland and we also do evaluation as well,” explained the Waterford IT graduate.
“There’s a good variety of work and hopefully it will continue to get busier and busier as more farmers see the benefits of having forestry as part of their overall farming activity mix”.
“The only real difficulty at times is cost. As I said, we cover all over the west of Ireland here and while we’re quite busy in places like Clare others counties like Leitrim are having more difficulty with planting permission”.
“It can be expensive and that’s the difficulty.”
At this stage, Veon has been in business for more than two decades now and knows how to offer the best forest management services to woodland estate owners, investors and farmers. The company manages approximately 14,000 ha of forests throughout Ireland with plantations of primarily Sitka spruce with differing age categories from establishment to thinning and ultimately harvesting.
The company employ 27 staff and 15 are qualified foresters to degree level.
Indeed all of the foresters at Veon are technical members of the Society of Irish Foresters and on the Forest Service list of Registered Foresters and between them they boast over 100 years’ of experience in forestry.
Veon’s foresters are based in counties Sligo, Galway, Cork, Longford, Kerry, Dublin and Wexford close to the forests that the company manage. They also manage forestry within a number of Irish estates. These include Markree Castle Estate, Coopers Hill Estate, Coolavin Estate, Brownhall Estate, Kilcooley Estate, Anaghmore Estate, Cloonalis Estate, the Perceval Estate and the Coollattin Estate in Co Wicklow.
Perhaps the company’s website puts it best when it states: “Forestry represents not only stable income but also an ethical investment based upon sustainable forest management techniques which not only benefits the forest owner but also society as a whole.”
Since ‘Day One’, Veon’s ethos has been to manage their clients’ forest properties to the highest standards adhering to best forestry practice.
The ultimate goal at Veon is to simply add value to the client’s investments by carrying out operations to the highest standard with the best materials and using only competent contractors.
The services which are provided by the business are tailored towards maximising the commercial benefits of forestry for clients. They are constantly investing in systems and staff to deliver the best possible results so that clients can achieve their goals.
“We’re professional at our job,” Ronan put it simply. “We carry out a professional service and our clients respect that fact. I think that’s why our clients continue to come back to us.”
Veon is at the forefront of Irish forestry and manages assets in excess of €100 million on behalf of family wealth offices, institutions and individual forest owners and farmers.
Find out how much you can earn from your land with forestry by visiting www.veon.ie.
West & Midlands:
Athenry, Co Galway
Mob: 086 130 3200
Taken from Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 7 No 5, September/October 2019