Tide turns for Borders timber company

A Borders-based timber harvesting and forest management company has taken on two extra members of staff and invested in new machinery as it bounces back from the trials of Covid-19.

Douglas Mathison with harvester operator Michael Herdman.
Douglas Mathison with harvester operator Michael Herdman.

Borderer Douglas Mathison, who founded Agriforest in 2016, said a number of sites had to be closed down and planting sites postponed during the lockdown, and financial worries were an ongoing concern.

However, in recent months, that’s all turned round and the company has taken on more projects across Fife, Perthshire, South Lanarkshire and the Borders

Douglas said: “We are working seven days a week and still can’t get ahead of things, not that I’m complaining.”

He has invested heavily in the company to deal with this increased demand.

He said: “We have just purchased a brand-new timber harvester, and a second-hand forwarder which is just shy of £500k investment in the company.”

To drive these new machines, Douglas has hired two new staff members and expanded the thriving business further.

He added: “Both staff members have been trained from scratch on the machines. Although they are new to machine work, they have a combined total of 37 years’ worth of experience elsewhere in forestry.

“Taking into account the new staff and machines, we will now have more control over work standards, production, timescales and overall wellbeing of the business.”

To date, Agriforest has harvested, hauled, and marketed over 100,000 tonnes of timber from mature farm and estate shelter belts.