IFA Farm Forestry Chairman, Pat Collins has welcomed the announcement of a Windblow Reconstitution Scheme to assist farmers whose plantations were damaged by Storm Darwin with replanting costs.
“This scheme is much needed and long overdue”, said Mr. Collins, “IFA has been lobbying for the introduction of such a scheme for over two years. An estimated 2,000 hectares of private forests were damaged as a result of storms, which forced many farmers to clearfell their plantations before they had reached commercial maturity”.
Pat Collins said that the grant, a maximum of €1,700 per hectare up to a total of 10 hectares, will go some way toward the cost of replanting. He stressed that most farmers will still be at a significant loss, as windblown sites are typically more expensive to harvest and due to oversupply of timber in the months following the storms prices were lower, particularly in the pulpwood market were some farmers received as little as €1 per tonne for pulpwood delivered.
“This scheme is enormously important to farmers whose plantations were not insured and only recouped a small amount of the potential value of the timber crop in sales”, said Mr. Collins. “It recognises the financial loss incurred by the farmers affected”.
Farmers who have already replanted are eligible to apply for the scheme retrospectively if they satisfy the qualifying criteria.
The closing date for applications for the Windblow Reconstitution Scheme is Friday, 24th February.