Date Posted: 14.02.2016
Forestry for all Landowners
By Tadhg Dooley, Forestry Services Ltd.
“As a part time farmer, I had little interest in forestry until I looked into the forestry scheme about 15 years ago. While hesitant at first, I planted the poorer land by engaging Forestry Services Ltd to secure the necessary approvals, and then to plant the lands and maintain the plantation for the first 4 years, which they completed for the grants available. The plantation is growing well, I have received my forest premium every year and am now planning the construction of forest roads and thinning the plantation. I am happy I made the correct decision and my only regret is that I haven’t got more forestry”.
Jimmy Kells, Durrow, Co. Laois
The new forestry programme is resulting in renewed interest in the forestry sector which is likely to be heightened following the recent COP 21 climate change conference in Paris. For the first time all landowners now qualify for the following:
• Income Tax-Free forest premium payments of up to €635 per hectare per year payable for 15 years for planting land.
• Afforestation grants which cover the full cost of establishing and maintaining plantations for the first 4 years, by which stage the crop is normally in free growth.
• Farmers have the additional benefit on retaining the Basic Payment Scheme on land planted under this new programme.
The recent weather conditions have prompted landowners to examine their land base, particularly land that is marginal for agriculture to determine its suitability for forestry. Low lying wet soil types, results in a short grazing season meaning such land is of reduced value to livestock farming. This land is generally ideal for forestry.
The Government have also “put their shoulder to the wheel”, with benefits in particular for existing forest owners. Forest road construction grants have been increased in order to encourage thinning of plantations while of major significance is the removal of forestry from the high earners income tax restriction in the recent budget.
The case for forestry has never been so comprehensive, cost free to enter, annual income tax-free forest premium payments, retain full ownership of the land and the trees and the basic payment scheme in the case of farmers, while we will complete all paperwork in the application and approval process.
For a free advisory visit on planting land or thinning an existing forest contact our local forester Tadhg Dooley on 087 7773698 or visit www.forestryservices.ie