Concern in Cavan as 53% of forestry is being planted by non farmers
Former Minister for Agriculture, Brendan Smith has highlighted widespread concerns in communities in County Cavan and elsewhere in relation to the purchase of land for afforestation by persons who are not dependent on farming as an income.
Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed if his attention has been drawn to if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that in many cases farmers who wish to purchase adjoining holdings to make their own farms viable are deprived of these opportunities due to the demand for such land from non-farmers.
Minister Creed said he is aware of some negativity surrounding forestry in County Cavan and neighbouring counties in recent months and particularly the planting of land by non farmers.
The Minister said a total of 24 landowners who classified themselves as non-farmers planted forests in Co Cavan so far during 2016, however he said it’s worth noting that 17 of these had addresses in Co. Cavan itself.
“So far in 2016 there were no private institutional investors approved for payment under the afforestation scheme in the county.
“The total area planted by non farmers represented 53% of all new planting during the year which is above the national average.
The Minister said it is difficult to determine if the 24 non-farmer individuals already owned the land or if they had bought the land specifically to plant.
“It is worth noting that farmers are entitled to sell their land to the highest bidder and if forestry is improving the price that farmers can receive for their land then these landowners stand to benefit,” he said.