One of the great benefits of the new Forestry Programme is that everyone who plants land from January 2015 will receive the higher rate of income tax free forest premium, regardless of whether you are farming or not. The forest premiums range from €510/ha (or €206/acre) for the conifer rate to a maximum rate of €635/ha (or €257/acre) for planting native broadleaf woodland, all premiums are payable for 15yrs. This is especially beneficial for retired farmers, part time farmers, people exiting REPS or people who have inherited land who would have been excluded from qualifying for the high rate up until now.
As well as the high forest premium rate the new scheme also covers all planting costs and many other benefits to include:
Full establishment grant – Costs you nothing
Retain your Full Single Farm Payment
Forest Road Grant support (€40 per metre)
€7 million funding for Native Woodland Conservation Scheme (up to 360ha per annum) – This scheme is for the preservation of existing native woodlands
Neighbourwood Scheme (community woodlands)
Agro-Forestry Scheme (5 yr premium)
Forestry for Fibre Scheme (energy crops, 10 yr premium)
For people who are thinking of selling their land they should consider the cost/benefit of such a decision – for example if you were to sell 20 acres of marginal land and receive say €3,800/acre (average price for forestry land) that would be €76,000 upfront – capital gains tax and solicitor fees would be deducted from this. If you were to plant the land you would receive €4,120 per year (or €61,800 in forest premium over the 15 years) and you still own the land and the trees. Landowners should talk to the co-op first before selling your land, circumstances are different for everyone but it is wise to make an informed decision.
If you are considering forestry, then now is a good time to act. Please contact your local Co-op forester Colm Freyne on 087-6606043 for more information (advert on this page) where he will submit an application free of charge.