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.
They will be of interest to farmers and landowners considering the multiple benefits of forestry as well as current forest owners seeking to optimise their on-farm resource.
Dr Nuala Ni Fhatharta, head of the Teagasc Forestry Development Department, said: "Forestry continues to be a highly attractive land use option, making your marginal land work for you. This series of information meetings on revisions of the Forestry Programme will allow those considering forestry to make objective and informed decisions.
"This series is only one of a wide range of initiatives and events that will be organised by Teagasc in association with the Forest Service throughout 2018," she added.
"Teagasc will continue to provide objective and independent advice and training to existing forest owners as well as landowners who are considering the forestry option".
Further details of the series of information meetings as well as upcoming events during 2018 are available on the Teagasc website, www.teagasc.ie/forestry or from your local Teagasc forestry staff.
Steven Meyen is a Teagasc forestry advisor email: email@example.com
The Chairman of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Pat Deering TD, has expressed concern over Coillte’s admission that the state body harvested some landowners’ forests and did not pay them.