Paying farmers more than non-farmers for forestry 'not an option' – Creed
The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has confirmed that his department will not reintroduce forestry payment differentials which would see farmers paid more than non-farmers.
The reintroduction of the policy was suggested by Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae as the current forestry programme does not differentiate between a “farmer” and “non-farmer” but targets funding at all landowners who wish to convert lands to forestry.
However, the Minister said that it is important to note that the non-farmer category also includes recently retired farmers and the family members of existing farmers.
“On that basis, I am satisfied that the vast bulk of forestry payments remain in rural Ireland.
“Reinstating the farmer/non-farmer forest premium differential is not an option being considered by the Department.
The Minister also said that the reintroduction of such a differential could only be achieved either by an increase in the farmer rate or a reduction in the non-farmer rate.
“An increase in the premium rate for farmers is no guarantee of increased planting levels by farmers.
“The other option of reducing the non-farmer rate to create the differential could impact significantly on overall planting levels.