The Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020 encourages farmers to plant by providing 100% establishment grants and 15 years of annual forest premiums.
It is a voluntary scheme administered by the Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and fully Exchequer funded.
Grant and premium
The following are the grant and premium rates for all categories:
The afforestation grants are paid in two instalments. The first instalment (75%) may be claimed immediately after planting. The second instalment (25%) can be claimed 4 years after planting has been completed, subject to the forest being successfully established and maintained.
The first premium is paid on the successful completion of initial planting.
Forest premium and basic payment
The forest premium and basic payment can be paid on the same land under the current programme. The main requirement for payment of both forest premium and basic payment is that the land being planted was eligible to draw down Single Farm Payment in 2008.
A farmer who plans to afforest part of the farm but wants to continue to paid basic payment, must retain at least 10% of the eligible hectares declared in 2008 SPS application form in an agricultural activity, subject to a minimum of 3 hectares.
To be eligible for the scheme, land must be capable of growing to full rotation, a commercial timber crop of Sitka spruce of Yield Class 14 or greater, based on one standard application of phosphorous at establishment. A standard application of phosphorous fertilizer is define as 350kg Granulated Rock Phosphate (GRP)/ha at the time of planting.
The environmental suitability of proposed afforestation projects is also considered by the Forest Service, therefore sites considered to be productive in nature may not be approved due to other constraints. All applications for afforestation approval undergo an environment assessment to ensure that proposed projects are compatible with the protection and enhancement of the environment.
The following lands are excluding from the scheme: unmodified raised bogs, infertile blankets and Midland raised bogs, designated blanket and raised bogs, plots with rock outcrop and associated shallow soils in excess of 25% of the plot area and severely exposed sites and some sea-facing locations.
Grant application process
All proposed afforestation developments must receive written approval from the Forest Service termed “technical approval”. A separate “financial approval” must be received prior to any work being carried out on site.
An afforestation application form must be completed and signed by the applicant and qualified forester, whose name must be included in the Registered Foresters and Forestry Companies. The list of Registered Foresters and Forestry Companies is available on IFA.ie or on request from the IFA Farm Forestry section.
The application form is available from the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co. Wexford. Lo-call 1890 200 223 or email: [email protected]
Read more in the IFA Farm Forestry Fact Sheet, which also contains information on site notice minimum area and other plantation requirements.
You can contact the IFA Farm Foresty Section on 01-4260343 or [email protected]