asked the Minister of Agriculture how many utilisation officers are being appointed by the Forestry Commission; what are the duties of such officers; and whether their services will be available to provide woodland owners with help and advice in the same way as the services of the W.A.A.S. are available to farmers.
The Forestry Commission have only two utilisation officers at present. These are specialist officers whose duties are to organise, and to advise forest officers upon, the utilisation and disposal of all forest produce. The Commission's forest officers are available to give free advice to woodland owners on all matters of forest management (including utilisation and marketing) in much the same way as the N.A.A.S. advise farmers.
In view of the great use made of the agricultural advisory services, is the Minister satisfied that every area concerned with forestry will be covered by an officer capable of giving advice?
We havé at this moment 129 forestry officers, and I presume that if private woodland owners seek their assistance, they will be given advice readily.