Young Farmers Marvel Over Paperboard & Willow Potential

The Lamplugh and Greysouthen Young Farmers Club are part of a national youth organisation for ages 10 to 26. Cumbria holds the 2nd highest membership in England. Due to geographical locations in the county, Cumbria is split in to two districts: North and South. Lamplugh and Greysouthen fall within the Northern District. Comprised of 15 clubs, the outline is Longtown across to Penrith and down to Drigg.
Recently, thirty-two young farmers and their advisors from the Lamplugh and Greysouthen Y F Clubs toured the Iggesund paperboard mill and willow plantation. Neil Watkins, Alternative Fuels Manager, gave insights into the production line and biomass boiler, including the role local farms can play in generating energy by growing willow.
Says Lucy Agnew, member of Lamplugh YFC and chairman of the Northern District Annual Field Day, “Most of us have driven by the plant many times. But, we never knew that packaging for champagne bottles, pharmaceuticals and Toblerone all originate from paperboard made in Iggesund Workington. Now we see how papermaking is done, and is linked to the biomass boiler. Lamplugh’s YFC Chairman Ruth Harper noted, “Research and development for the willow and biomass sector was of special interest, because all of us work the land. Coming from farming families, we understand the importance of a crop as an energy source.”
Adds Greysouthen’s Chairman Matthew Emmott, “We saw details including all the layers in the board, and advance control of the processes. Now we understand fueling of the biomass boiler. It’s amazing to learn that the massive investment in the boiler will quickly save money. The willow plantation just beside the mill got our heads ticking about our own potential. The question of the day for all of us was: would willow become a cash crop for OUR farms? The answer is obvious when you know the benefits to the land and soil, as well financial potential.”