Farmers are to be paid €1,103/ha to plant native trees on their land under a new forestry programme, the Irish Farmers Journal can reveal.
The figure is up 66% on the current premium rate of €665/ha and is accompanied by a once-off grant payment of €6,744/ha.
Farmers will also have an extended premium length of 20 years for forestry, on top of the increased premiums themselves.
This means a farmer growing 4ha of native species such as hazel or elder on their land will receive an initial grant of €26,976 for setup and almost €90,000 in premiums over the course of 20 years.
Broadleaf forestry is set to see similar increases in premium payments, with rates going from €645/ha to €1,037ha, a 61% increase, for mainly oak and from €605/ha to €973/ha for mainly birch and alder plantations.
Once-off grants of €6,744/ha and €4,314/ha, respectively, will apply for each.
Meanwhile, for mixed high forests of Scots pine and Douglas fir, farmers will receive €863/ha, a 46% increase from the current premium of €590/ha.
The new payment rates are part of the next forestry programme, which is subject to European Commission approval and comes into effect from January. The payments are tax free.
There are also some new additions to payments, with farmers set to receive a grant of €2,500/ha and a premium of €350/ha for rewilding land with emergent woodland.
Those growing seed orchards will continue to receive a grant of €10,000/ha, but will also now receive €1,142/ha in premium payments.
In a move potentially suited to rewetting proposals, farmers are set to be paid a grant of €7,744/ha and a premium of €1,142/ha to plant “forests for water”.
The higher premium rates come as it is understood Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State Pippa Hackett have secured €1.3bn for the programme following agreement with Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath.