€33m in payments to forestry owners commence

The commencement of 2020 forestry premium payments to Irish landowners has been announced by Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry Andrew Doyle.

The payments, which are tax-free, will issue today, Wednesday, January 8, to over 7,000 forest owners amounting to a total of €33.24 million.

Announcing the payments, Minister Doyle said:

This year’s forestry payments have commenced early and total payments issued exceed the payments made at the same time last year by almost 30%.

“This tax-free payment illustrates that forestry remains a very viable long-term investment option for farmers providing a regular income stream for up to 15 years after planting and a stable market for timber.

“This farm-forestry model also allows farmers to diversify their income while still maintaining livestock if they wish.

“I would encourage all farmers to consider the options provided under the current forestry programme and discuss the range of schemes with their agricultural advisor,” the minister concluded.

This payment run also represents a 40% increase in terms of forest owners who applied for premiums compared to last year and “reflects the success of the move to a fully online application system”, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The benefits of the online system are a faster turnaround time and a simpler application process, the authority says.

The department also provided a county-by-county breakdown of the monies to be issued:

A department spokesperson added: “The success of the roll-out of the system, which included departmental information clinics at various locations, a dedicated help desk, and support from Teagasc and private agricultural advisors to landowners, is evident in the numbers who have now registered online.”

Payments will continue each week and forest owners who have not submitted their online applications so far, can apply online for their forestry premiums through the department’s online services website.