Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle TD
The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle, TD recently launched yesterday the 2017/18 forestry planting season during a visit to a tree nursery in Co Wicklow.
Since 1990, the forestry programme has invested over €2.5bn in rural Ireland and resulted in over 300,000 hectares planted with trees.
The Minister said Forestry played a huge economic, environmental, social, and recreational role in Ireland and he was “delighted” that the nation continued to support new forests again this year.
“The current Afforestation Scheme offers huge benefits to landowners and is an ideal opportunity to plant trees as part of your farming enterprise,” Minister Doyle added. “Applications are now invited under the Scheme under which 100% of the costs of establishment are covered by the Department and 15 guaranteed annual premium payments are also available.
“Over 13,000 Irish farmers received a forestry payment in 2016, while Departmental records indicate that the most popular planting option attracts an annual guaranteed premium of €510 per hectare.”
The Minister also drew attention to the range of options available to interested landowners indicating there were 12 planting categories under the Afforestation Scheme to suit all scenarios and preferences including native woodland establishment, forestry for fibre and agro forestry where agriculture and forestry can co-exist on the same land.
“The Afforestation Scheme (incorporating Native Woodland Establishment, Agro-Forestry and Forestry for Fibre), the Forest Roads Scheme, the Woodland Improvement (Thinning and Tending) Scheme, the Seed Stand and Seed Orchard Scheme, and the NeighbourWood Scheme are all currently open and I will shortly be launching the Native Woodland Conservation Scheme,” he continued.
“I would encourage landowners to seriously consider forestry; forestry does not have to be an alternative to agriculture, instead forestry should be seen as a complementary activity which is very much part of the farming mix.
“Under current rules, forestry is compatible with the Basic Payment Scheme and, under certain conditions, is also compatible with GLAS.
“My Department and Teagasc are keen to work with, and support, any interested landowners and I would encourage them to contact us or your local forestry company for a discussion on how to take the next step”.