For­est own­ers to get ¤56m funds

Irish Independent - Farming - - Front Page -

AN­NUAL forestry pre­mia worth €56.2m will be is­sued to for­est own­ers this week, Min­is­ter for State Shane McEn­tee has an­nounced.

The an­nual pay­ments, which will be made to 11,500 forestry own­ers, are paid for 20 years in the case of farm­ers and for 15 years for non-farm­ers.

Min­is­ter McEn­tee said for­est own­ers could look for­ward to re­turns from thin­nings and clear felling of plan­ta­tions in ad­di­tion to their an­nual pre­mium pay­ments.

Around €100m could be gen­er­ated for farm­ers and the ru­ral econ­omy over the next four years from first and sec­ond thin­nings of pri­vate forestry, new fig­ures from Tea­gasc sug­gest.

How­ever, the vol­ume of tim­ber har­vested in the pri­vate for­est sec­tor is still small com­pared with pro­duc­tion fore­casts, IFA forestry chair­man Pat Hennessy has warned.

“If farm­ers de­lay thin­ning their forests, the op­por­tu­nity could be lost and the fi­nan­cial re­turn re­duced,” he said.

Mr Hennessy was speak­ing ahead of the IFA’s ‘ Work­ing To­gether to Mo­bilise the Pri­vate Tim­ber Re­source’ forestry con­fer­ence, which takes place on Thurs­day week in the Killeshin Ho­tel, Port­laoise.

The aim is to help farm­ers learn more about tim­ber mar­kets, how to es­tab­lish forestowner groups and de­velop on-farm tim­ber en­ter­prises, par­tic­u­larly in the wood en­ergy sec­tor.

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