IFA National Farm Forestry Chair Jason Fleming said that the announcement of an increase in premium rates of between 46% to 66% under the new forestry programme is a positive development but legacy issues still need to be addressed if planting targets are to be met.
“I would like to acknowledge the work of Minister Hackett in securing a forestry package of in excess €1.3 billion for the new the forestry programme, that see forest premium payments increase by between 46% to 66%, while the duration of premium payments will increase to 20 years for farmers,” Jason Fleming said.
Under the new forestry programme:
- The forest premium payment rates and duration have increased offering farmers the potential of earn a premium payment of up to €1,142 per hectare payments for 20 years depending on the forest type planted.
- Farmers that plant a mixed conifer forest will be paid €746 per hectare (an increase from €510) for 20 years, which is the equivalent of a payment of just under €15,000 per hectare.
- Farmers that plant an agro-forestry type forest will earn €975 per hectares (an increase from €645) for 10 years.
- Offers farmers greater diversity with several new forest type categories added including Forests for Water, Emergent Forests, Seed Orchards and Continuous Cover Forestry.
“The increases in the forest premium payments as well as the extension of the premium payment to 20 years will certainly encourage more farmers to look at forestry as an option on their farm,” Jason Fleming added.
But he stressed that increased premiums alone would not be enough and that the Minister needed to continue to work with farmers to restore confidence particularly around the ash dieback and the licencing system.