Agroforestry incentives to get a boost in revamped 2020 scheme
Agroforestry payments will increase from €260/ha to €625/ha for the first five years under the mid-term review of the 2014-2020 forestry programme
You may have read a few weeks ago in this paper that the Government has approved new enhanced forest establishment and support grants arising from the Mid-Term Review of the Government's current Forestry Programme 2014-2020.
These revisions provide attractive changes to the already wide range of forestry grant establishment and support schemes, providing enhanced incentives for afforestation and promoting active forest management and timber harvesting.
The focus of this review is to make the planting of broadleaf trees more attractive to farmers. For instance, there is a 5pc premium increase for broadleaves and diverse conifers. The agroforestry element in particular has been much enhanced.
Agroforestry combines the growing of quality trees with an agricultural enterprise in the same field. The annual payment has been increased from €260/ha/yr to €645/ha/yr for the first five years.
Many of my articles highlight the importance of ongoing management: that is why I very much welcome the improved support measures for existing forests. Support for broadleaf thinning, hare and deer fencing, forest roads, neighbourwoods, native woodland conservation and close to nature forestry for instance have all been enhanced.
Teagasc, in association with the Forest Service (DAFM), will provide details of these scheme revisions in a series of nationwide information meetings taking place between March 12 and 22 (see panel below for details of the meeting nearest to you).
These meetings present an excellent opportunity to hear first-hand of the scheme changes.