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Over 1,300 Landowners hear details of the New Forestry Programme at Joint Teagasc/Forest Service Meetings

A nationwide series of information meetings on the new Forestry Programme 2014-2020 were organised by Teagasc in association with the Forest Service, DAFM. These meetings attracted over 1,300 people who heard details of the new attractive forest establishment and support grants and how the new forestry grants interact with other agricultural support schemes.

At these meetings, the new forestry grant schemes were discussed as well as key differences with the previous schemes.

Nuala Ni Fhlatharta, Head of the Forestry Development Department with Teagasc commented on the success of the forestry information meetings “The recent series of forestry information meetings proved to be very successful with over 1,300 landowners attending. Our aim was to provide information to landowners on the significant opportunities provided by the new forestry grants and premium payment scheme.

She added “With fifteen annual premium payments of over €510 per hectare for conifers and approximately €600 per hectare for broadleaves, I would strongly recommend that landowners consider the potential that this offers. In addition to the annual premium, it will be possible for most farmers to hold on to their Basic Payments. In most cases, all the costs associated with the establishment of the crop in the early years are covered by an afforestation grant.”

Frances McHugh, Teagasc’s Forestry Adviser in the South East said “Many of the forest owners who planted in the past decades are now reaping the benefits of their forests with income from timber sales. In addition to the returns from thinning and clear-felling, a forest enterprise on a farm is an ideal way for landowners to grow their own fuel and timber supply for the future. New and expanding markets including wood energy have provided new opportunities for local sales. A well planned forest can also benefit the countryside visually and can provide recreational opportunities on the farm.”

The objective of the new Forestry Programme is to support the planting of over 43,000 hectares of new forests as well as support for the construction of up to 690 kilometres of new forest roads. Another important feature of the new programme is substantial funding towards protecting and enhancing Irish native woodlands. Under the Native Woodlands Conservation Scheme, almost 2,000 hectares of these forests will be eligible for support.

Landowners heard at the meetings of the importance of planning their forests to ensure that they complement other activities on the farm and also that they are established and managed in a sustainable manner from both economic and environmental perspectives.

There are many options available in relation to what to plant and how to go about it and Teagasc forestry advisers are available to provide information and support. To get further information and contact details of your local Teagasc forestry adviser, go to www.teagasc.ie/forestry.