If your REPS payment has finished why not consider additional forestry income. Western Forestry is a Co-op based in the North West that has been serving farmers for 30 years.
Landowners can receive their full Basic Farm Payment (BPS) and forestry premium on the same land. Forest premiums range from €510/ha (€206/acre) for conifer rate to €635/ha (€257/acre) for native broadleaf woodland, all premiums are payable for 15yrs and are income tax free. This is especially beneficial for retired farmers, part time farmers, people exiting REPS or people who have inherited land, private landowners working full time who prior to 2015 would have been excluded from the high premium rate. As well as the high forest premium rate the forestry scheme also includes an establishment grant so it costs you nothing.
Forestry & GLAS
It is important for farmers to know their options before committing to GLAS. The GLAS scheme, while similar to AEOS, is not a whole farm scheme. Landowners must choose different options, some of which are area based. Land parcels put in to GLAS cannot be converted to forestry and will be in GLAS for 6 years. However, opportunities exist for afforestation and other forestry schemes on parcels which are not in GLAS. Landowners should contact the co-op to look at the opportunities afforded by both schemes before committing to GLAS. This service is free of charge.
Selling Land for Forestry
For people who are thinking of selling their land you should consider the cost/benefit of such a decision – for example if you were to sell 20 acres of marginal land and receive €3,800/acre (average price), a lump sum of €76,000, however capital gains tax and solicitor fees would be further deducted from this lump sum.
If you planted this land you would receive €61,800 in forest premium over 15 years and still own the land and the trees. Landowners should talk to the co-op before selling your land, we would advise that you make an informed decision.
If you are considering forestry then please contact your local Co-op forester Victor Barber on 086-8289926 for more information (advert on this page) and a free visit.