Press Release 21st September 2016:

Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships today, Andrew Doyle TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, announced that those forest owners with valid technical planting approvals may now apply for financial approval under the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme.

Making the announcement, Minister Doyle added, “Since responsibility for forestry was assigned to me earlier this year, I have been encouraged by the level of interest in, and enthusiasm for, forestry among farmers and indeed other landowners. I believe that forestry is a viable land use option either on its own or in combination with other farming enterprises. As a Wicklow based farmer, I am no stranger to forestry and am well aware of its benefits as part of a diverse farming undertaking.”

The Minister continued, “The availability of establishment grants for the initial planting of the forest and premium payments for 15 years are widely known but are not the full story. Those contemplating forestry should also factor in the generous tax incentives for thinning and final harvesting so that both the medium to long term returns from forestry are taken into account and I believe that investment in forestry compares very favourably with investment in other enterprises”.

While noting the socio-economic benefits of forestry, Minister Doyle also highlighted that forestry is poised to play an important role in helping to meet the EU’s new proposal on emission targets to 2030 and the resultant importance for our environment that the current level of new forestry planting is not only maintained but increased year on year.

The Minister of State commented, in this regard, that “My Department, in close co-operation with Teagasc and an industry representative group, is in the process of drafting a new promotion plan for the sector. This will involve a co-ordinated approach by the industry as a whole, the core message of which is that forestry is a good option for farmers. This message, and an indication of this close collaboration between all elements within the forestry sector, is outlined in the new videos on forestry which are being shown on the Big Screen here at the Ploughing Championships.”

Minister Doyle concluded by saying: “I am aware of concerns about forestry in certain parts of the country but I can assure people that forestry can play an important part in the development of rural economies and that this can be achieved in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. My personal experience of forestry has been very positive and I would encourage all farmers and landowners to consider forestry as an investment”.

Source: Department of Agriculture