IFA Farm Forestry Chairman, Michael Fleming has advised farmers that the Association has not endorsed or supported any timber option agreements at this time.
He made this clarification when it emerged that the Timber Resource Investment Fund (TRIF) and Greenbelt had named IFA in an Option Agreement which was being presented to farmers.
Both TRIF and Greenbelt have confirmed that all agreements that have issued or been signed by farmers will be presented again with the IFA’s name removed from the agreement.
Mr. Fleming said, “Negotiations between IFA and TRIF were ongoing but had not concluded in any agreement. Therefore, IFA must not be named as a trusted third party to any such transactions. I would advise farmers to get independent legal advice prior to signing any agreement so they are fully aware of the implications”.
Mr. Fleming said that farmers should not feel pressurised to sign and should take time to fully consider what is being offered by any investor. Future selling of harvesting rights may suit some farmers but I would urge farmers to carefully consider any agreement and to get expert advice to fully understand the value of their forest before signing.