All applications now have to be filled in online, which may seem daunting, but we can guide you through the process
The annual forestry premium is often an important (and very welcome) source of income for a farm family.
The most popular rate among farmers is €510 per hectare per year for a period of 15 years, for establishing a commercial Sitka spruce forest.
If you are planting a native woodland on the other hand, then the payment is substantially higher at €665/ha/year, also for 15 years. A top-up payment applies if you plant more than 10 hectares.
Each year, you need to apply for your forestry premium to be paid out.
Until a couple of years ago, you needed to fill out a paper form (Form 4). However, these paper forms are no longer being issued.
Instead, all forestry premium applications must be applied for online via www.agfood.ie
Applying for your annual forestry premium payment
■ Log on to www.agfood.ie;
■ Enter your username;
■ Enter the requested digits from your Personal Access Code (PAC);
■ Enter your password;
■ Select Logon;
■ Select Forestry Grants & Premiums from the menu of applications;
■ Select option to view Your Outstanding Form 4s;
■ Select a contract by highlighting your contract number;
■ Select Review & Proceed;
■ De Minimis Declaration. Select Yes or No:
⬤ Yes: I have received other De Minimis payments. Enter the relevant details and then click Save Declaration and Continue;
⬤ No: I have not received any other De Minimis payments. Click Save Declaration and Continue;
■ If prompted, view the aerial photograph of your plantation and Proceed;
■ Tick the box for ‘I accept these conditions’;
■ Submit your application;
■ If you have more than one contract: select Home and then repeat the process for the next contract.
After clicking the submit button, DAFM will check your premium application.
If everything is OK then the money will be paid directly into your bank account.
Tax clearance certificate
You need to have an up-to-date tax clearance certificate if you are lucky enough to receive more than €10,000 in forestry payments.
You apply for tax clearance on the website of the Revenue Commissioners: www.revenue.ie.
If everything is in order, you will receive a Tax Clearance Access Number. You can then provide this number together with your Tax Number to DAFM.
Registering for online services
If you are not using the Department’s Online Services yet then you need to register as soon as possible at www.agfood.ie
Once you’re registered, you will be able to apply for your all-important 2021 forestry premium payment. Forestry payments commence this month.
■ Log on to www.agfood.ie;
■ On the top left hand side of the screen you will see Register for Online Services;
■ Select Register;
■ Complete Registration Details and then select Submit Registration
■ You will receive a letter in the post with your log-on details and your Personal Access Code (PAC)
Keep this letter safe! You will need it every time when you are applying for your forestry premium payment or for any of the Department’s other online services.
If you have a problem logging on, the helpdesk in Portlaoise (076 1064424 or firstname.lastname@example.org) should be able to sort you out.
You can contact the Department’s dedicated Forestry Premium Helpdesk in Wexford at 076 1064451 if you need assistance when applying for your forestry premium.
Make sure you have your forestry Contract Number (CN) and/or Forest Owner (FO) number to hand.
Further details can be found on www.teagasc.ie/forestry.
2020 was a strange and difficult year: our seminars became webinars, and office appointments became Zoom appointments.
Despite these difficulties, Teagasc adapted and organised several successful events: hundreds of people attended our live broadcast focusing on conifers, as well as our webinar focusing on the growing of quality broadleaf timber.
These events can be viewed on our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/teagascforestryvideos.
We will build on last year’s successful programme and continue to provide you with practical, non-nonsense information.
The format of our events may be digital or at a local venue dependent on Covid requirements later in 2021.
To cover all eventualities, we have built in the flexibility so that we can convert our webinars into forest walks or conferences at a local venue when and where possible.
By attending a forestry event — be it a webinar or a seminar — you will always pick up useful information, hear about an alternative approach, learn about the latest research or pick up useful management tips.
Teagasc forestry information can be trusted: our information is objective and independent. Our job is to provide you with the facts so that you can make an informed decision.
Our programme will focus in particular on afforestation, forest management and thinning of both conifers and broadleaves.
Keep an eye on www.teagasc.ie/forestry for up-to-date event details.
Steven Meyen is a Teagasc forestry advisor; email@example.com