Younger farmers looking to woodland to provide them with a pension fund
Young farming couples interested in planting land to provide 'pension funds' are among the hundreds currently attending a series of Teagasc forestry clinics.
Huge interest in afforestation and the tax benefits of planting land have resulted in Teagasc's series of 38 nationwide clinics being oversubscribed. Teagasc is now planning to add extra dates to cope with the unforeseen demand.
Teagasc forestry expert Steven Meyen said there had been a sea change in the approach to forestry among landowners in recent years.
"The questions we are being asked have changed from 'how much will I receive in annual premium payments if I planted this land?' to 'how can I incorporate forestry as an enterprise on my farm?'," said Mr Meyen.
Mr Meyen said he had large numbers of young farmers aged 30-35 attending the clinics in the northwest.
"They are thinking of their farm as a business and asking how forestry can maximise their income," he explained.
"We also have young farming couples who are wondering how they can use forestry as a pension fund for 30-40 years' time."