Over €17 million in tax-free forestry premiums issued to farmers

It has been confirmed that over €17 million in annual tax-free forestry premiums for 2018 has been issued to farmers.

Equating to €17.33 million, the latest payment run was announced by the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, Andrew Doyle.

These payments follow the previous January pay run and are issuing to those forest owners who used the paper-based application system, according to the department.

Payments in respect of 7,300 forest premium online applications were made in January 2018, it added.

Commenting on the matter, Minister Doyle said: “This payment run brings the total of forest premium paid to date in 2018 to €56.8 million in respect of 16,390 applications.

“My department will continue to process forest premium applications as they are received and will be making payments on a weekly basis throughout the year.

Between €60 million and €70 million is usually paid in forest premiums each year, which represents a significant stable income stream for forest owners.

The minister of state encouraged farmers to take a fresh look at forestry as a land-use option to complement other farm enterprises.

Continuing, he said: “Higher forestry grants and premiums have been introduced following the Mid-Term Review of the Forestry Programme 2014-2020 and I encourage landowners to explore the forestry option.

“Existing forest owners will be interested to note that new forestry initiatives are also going to be launched during 2018, arising from the Mid-Term Review, such as Forestry Knowledge Transfer Groups.

“Further information on all of the schemes currently available, and associated rates, is available from my department, Teagasc or forestry companies registered with the department – a list of whom are available on my department’s website.”

Forest owners who have not submitted their online applications to date may still apply online for their forestry premiums through the IFORIS internet portal on the department’s online services website.