New forestry deal will honour premia
A new €262m forestry scheme has been rolled out until 2020, along with commitments to honour premium payments worth €220m beyond that date.
The programme includes 11 measures aimed at creating over 43,000ha of new private forestry over the next six years.
It is already a sector that equals the Irish beef industry in terms of its €2.3bn output.
The Minister of State with responsibility for forestry, Tom Hayes claimed the package was a vote of confidence in the sector.
"The new programme strikes a balance between meeting the needs of a growing export led processing sector and the need to maximise the environmental and social benefits that can be delivered by forestry and enjoyed by society," he added.
While the new premiums are 20pc higher than those in the previous programme when compared year on year, the premiums are paid out for 15 years, rather than 20 as had previously been the case.
This means that the gross premium payments over the lifetime of the most common new forestry - 10pc species diverse - will now be €7,650, rather than the €8,540 that was available through the previous scheme.
However, reaction from the forestry industry has been positive to the announcement.