Government Approves Forestry Programme

December 18, 2014

Government Approves Forestry Programme

Annual premiums increased to up to €249 per acre over a 15 year period

Tom Hayes, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, announced that the Government has approved the new Forestry Programme covering the period 2014 – 2020.  The changes were submitted for approval last autumn have now been approved and will take effect for anyone who wants to plant from the 1st of January 2015.

The afforestation grant and premium scheme provides a package to encourage the planting of forests by covering the cost of forestry establishment, plus the income foregone farm land to forest during the maturation of the timber crop.

Those who plant under the scheme can receive an increased premium of up to €249 per acre over a period of 15 years. This is an increase of €41 per acre over the existing premium that ran for 20 years. The premiums will be paid in a shorter timeframe that will allow farmers and landowners to receive income sooner.

According to Daragh Little, MD of FEL and Chairman of Irish Forestry and Forest products Association, “The changes to the owner’s premiums are very positive; the new scheme opens forestry to those who could not qualify in the past.  Non-farmers, individuals leasing land and those who availed of the Early Retirement Scheme are now eligible for the forestry programme.  It is estimated that the removal of these restrictions will allow thousands of acres of new land become available to forestry and help achieve Government annual planting targets.

Forestry provides a stable annual income for a period of 15 years, with income from timber harvesting starting soon after the end of the premiums provided commercial conifers are planted on the land.  Revenue earned from premiums and timber sales is income tax-free subject to the income tax threshold.
The forestry sector generates approximately €2.3bn in annual output and the 10% of Irish land that is in forest is set to increase to 820,000ha – that’s over 12% in the next 5 years. One of the aims of Ireland’s forest policy is to encourage planting by private landholders in order to achieve a forest cover of 18% by 2046.

Ireland has one of the most suitable climates for growing trees and figures have shown that domestic demand for wood in Ireland is set to increase by 40% between 2014 and 2020.

For more information and advice on farm forestry please contact Forest Enterprises Ltd on 1800 719 399 or email FEL are Ireland’s leading forestry company specialising in all aspects of forestry including planting, harvesting, management and investment. FEL Manage over 40,000 of acres of forestry in Ireland.