The much anticipated Budget took place during the week, with many farmers feeling very hard done by.
While there was good news, with increases to GLAS expenditures, TAMS and ANC schemes, it was the stamp duty revelations which struck a chord. The stamp duty rate was trebled, from 2% up to 6%. The increases mean higher rates would have to be paid on agricultural land sold and is estimated to potentially cost the industry as much as €12 million.
The Forestry industry was given €106 million in this year's budget, making it very appealing indeed.Many farmers have been looking to maybe planting their land as an alternative. But is this really the way?
Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme
The Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme 2014-2020 is in place, through Teagasc, for farmers looking to plant forestry on their land.
The Scheme was introduced to specifically increase the amount of area under forestry plantations in Ireland.Fifteen years of annual forest premiums has been allocated to cover 44,000 hectares of forestry.
What is it worth/The Ins and Outs:
Forestry premiums are €275 per acre and are made available over a time-span of 15 years. While you used to be able to sign a 20 year deal, this was limited to 15 back in 2012.
Annual payments are are then paid into bank accounts in February or March annually. To be eligible for the grant, you must have at least one hectare, though it is advised to ensure costs are covered to plant four or more.
2,500 conifer trees per hectare must be planted, with this increasing to 3,300 with broadleaf species. Land must be then re-planted once the fifteen years are up, involving that plot or a substitute plot.
25 acres of land for forestry
Return of €4,000 in Premium per annum.
4% return of €100,000 return investment.
Grants and premiums are payable depending on land classification and GPC.
For more information on grant requirements click here