Forestry payments totalling some €27.8m are set to be made this week to the 8,200 eligible applicants to the Department of Agriculture’s forestry scheme, according to Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett.
“I am delighted to announce that payment of annual forestry premiums of just under €29m are commencing this week to over 8,200 landowners,” commented Minister Hackett.
“Issuing these payments early each year is a priority for my Department and I am delighted it has been achieved on schedule again this year,” she said.
The Department moved the application process for forestry premia online in 2020, a move which it has said has improved the efficiency of the process.
Rates of up to €680 per hectare can be availed of under the scheme and those due payments have been urged to apply for any outstanding amounts.
The premia are tax-free and available to claim for 15 years after planting, Minister Hackett reminded farmers.
“These payments are tax free and guaranteed for 15 years to each individual forest owners and I would encourage other landowners to actively consider planting a new woodland,” the Minister added.
The remainder of eligible applicants’ payments is due to be made weekly over the coming year.
Minister Hackett encouraged the farmers with 5,000ha of forestry approved for planting but not yet proceeded to commence afforestation.
“We [will] also be building on last year’s progress on forestry licencing where we increased the number of licences issued by 60% on the previous year.
“I am confident that the strong performance from last year will be built on in 2022 and we will focus on increasing the number of afforestation licences we issue in particular,” the Minister concluded.