ACA FARMERS HANDBOOK 2010
The Forestry Environmental Protection Scheme (FEPS) is a new scheme for planting land on REPS farms with the environment as the priority. The aim of the scheme is to encourage the establishment of high nature value forestry on farms which participate in REPS. It was stated that FEPS was ontroduced ‘to encourage farmers to establish and maintain high nature value forestry through measures such as increasing biodiversity and protecting water quality’
In order to apply for FEPS you must be in REPS. Farmers who intend to join REPS may also apply for approval under this Scheme. The FEPS premium is payable in addition to the existing Afforestation Scheme grants and premium
FEPS in explained in detail in the presentation below. Please be aware that the presentations are very large files and may take a minute or two to download. Please be patient!
Services offered to members include:
- Forest Management Consultancy
- Rural Development Projects
- Foresters in the ACA
- A variety of Services Provided
- Areas of Common interest with Agricultural Consultants
- Administration of Forestry Schemes & Ongoing Forest Management
- Marketing & Administration of Timber Sales
- Forestry valuation & marketing
- Forestry Schemes
- The Afforestation Scheme
- Marketing & Administration of Timber Sales
- Felling & Sale of Timber
- Management of Established Woods
Consultant Foresters in the Society of Irish Foresters
Graduate Foresters – B.Agr.Sc.(For.) or equivalent
Holders of professional indemnity insurance
Partakers in CPD
Sole Trader or Company Director
Minimum of 2 years professional experience
Technical Members of the SIF
Current Membership 35
FORESTRY – ACA FARMERS HANDBOOK 2010
Forestry has been recognised by the European Union as having a major role to play,
both in the reform of the CAP and in the wider context of rural development. This is
further reinforced in the Rural Development Plan 2007 – 2013 which sets out an
ambitious programme of measures to include all of the existing schemes along with a
number of new initiatives aimed at improving the skill level of plantation owners and
the quality and amenity value of plantations
The tax free return from forestry is an added incentive. For example,
premiums for planting broad leaves on enclosed land, e.g. ash, amount to €467/ha.
per annum for 20 years, which could be equivalent to €864/ha. gross income subject
to tax, PRSI and levies for a high rate tax payer. Additionally, the Forest
Environment Protection Scheme (FEPS) can contribute a further €200 per hectare
per annum for the duration of the Farmers REPS plan.
Many people associate bad land with forestry which is generally true but nonetheless
the land must be capable of producing a commercial crop of wood. Low-lying wet,
mineral soil types, with a grass rush vegetation cover are ideal for forestry and only
marginal for agriculture with a very short grazing season. Forestry on such land is an
attractive option as it will not affect entitlement to the Single Farm Payment.
The forest potential of land is measured in terms of its yield class (Y.C.). This is the
average number of cubic metres of timber the land can produce per hectare per
annum. Therefore Y.C. 24 means the land can produce 24 m3 of timber per hectare
per annum on average over a rotation grown to the age at which the mean annual
increment begins to decrease. In other words the Y.C. is the maximum mean annual
increment which the site and the species can produce. On the type of grass rush
lowland referred to earlier, one would expect to grow Sitka spruce to Y.C. 24.
Landowners have a number of options open to them in relation to planting and
maintaining their plantation. Independent advice should be sought as to which of the
available options are best suited to your particular circumstances. The options
currently available are;
Employing a consultant forester:- he/she will provide a complete planting service
to include maintenance while allowing the farmer have whatever level of input
he/she may so wish. The consultant will charge a fee for his/her service and
generally the arrangement can prove quiet cost effective.
Employing a forest contractor:- the forest contracting company will undertake the
entire contract which will also include a four year maintenance contract. Most
private forestry in Ireland has been planted by forest contracting companies. This
approach suits the landowner who has no particular interest in becoming directly
involved in planting or managing his/her plantation.
Farm-Forestry Partnerships;- : Where the proposed area for planting is greater
than 10 hectares the farmer can enter into a partnership agreement with Coillte
whereby he or she retains ownership of the land and receives a tax free annual
income during the life of the crop. The scheme provides a generous advance
payment. The land owner benefits from the management and marketing of the crop
and enjoys the greater share of the clearfell profits.
The current partnership provides :
- an advance payments of up to €1,000/ha. when the contract is signed
- partner receives the Forest Premium. This will be for 15 or 20 years depending on
the landowners circumstances (farmer/non farmer).
-partner receives 80% of the thinning profit paid as a thinning annuity when
premium payments cease through to clearfell.
- the partner receives 55% of the clearfell profits.
- the partner has the option of increasing the thinning annuity by bringing forward a
percentage of the clearfell revenues.
- all operations are carried out to FSC standards
All of the three options outlined should be viewed in the context of your age and
personal circumstances and future intentions. To date farmers have opted in the main
for either of the first two options but where a person’s main priority is income rather
than the long term clearfell value, the forest partnership may be an attractive option.
All profits from forestry including grants, premiums and timber sales are exempt
from income tax and capital gains tax. Similarly, woodlands that are inherited or
gifted are eligible for agricultural relief for capital acquisitions tax purposes.
All plantation owners should ensure that they have adequate and proper insurance
cover. Cover is available through most of the general insurance companies but more
tailor made policies are available from FBD.
FORESTRY COSTS, RETURNS & SUPPORTS
The cost of establishing a forestry plantation varies widely. It depends on the nature
of ground preparation required, the tree species selection and the need for
maintenance in the early years of establishment. There are economies of scale and
small areas are more expensive to develop irrespective of the nature of the site. As a
general rule the costs of establishing sites in excess of 10 ha’s will be fully covered
by the afforestation grants.
AFFORESTATION GRANT AND PREMIUM SCHEME
There are two rates of premium available namely, the farmer rate is payable for a
period of 20 years or the non-farmer rate is payable for a period of 15 years.
In order to qualify for Afforestation grants and premiums, applicants must own, lease
or be in joint management of the lands proposed for planting. All Applicants must be
over 18 years of age and hold a Personal Public Service Number. An applicant for
the farmer rate of premium must supply evidence of farming activity in the one of
the following forms:
An active REPS registration number, Herd number or registration under the
Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication Scheme or another Department of
Agriculture and Food Scheme. An ‘active’ registration means an applicant
has been a beneficiary under the particular scheme in the year of the
forestry plantation’s completion or in one of the three preceding years.
Documentary evidence that at least 25% of an applicant’s income was
derived from farming in the State in the year of the forestry plantation’s
completion or in one of the three preceding years. Documentary evidence
may comprise a tax assessment showing that farming income amounted to
at least 25% of total income or, an income assessment and declaration form,
TF1, completed and stamped by the local Teagasc Land Use Advisor or
TF2 completed and stamped by an Agricultural Consultant who is a
member of the Agricultural Consultants Association, demonstrating that at
least 25% of total income is derived from farming.
QUALIFICATION FOR THE FARMER RATE OF PREMIUM
The income of the applicant only is to be used in the calculation, spouse’s income is
not included. Farming income includes agricultural aids, premiums and subsidies.
Farmer forest premiums may be included as farming income provided the applicant
has other farming income. Land letting on the less than 11-month basis (conacre)
may be included as farming income provided the applicant has other farming
income. All Social Welfare payments, pensions/disability benefits, are excluded from
gross income. An applicant who has already been assessed and qualified as a farmer
under the existing scheme or the RDP Afforestation Scheme 2000 – 2006 or the CAP
Premium Scheme 1993 – 1999 or the Farmer Premium Scheme 1989-1992, does not
have to be reassessed in respect of applications for new plantations under the
An applicant who has participated in the Farm Retirement Scheme cannot
be classified as a farmer in respect of a plantation completed after the date of
retirement (unless all payments received under that scheme have been repaid to the
Department and the conditions outlined above are met).
An applicant who is not resident in the State is not eligible for payment of
the Farmer rate premium.
CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP
The Minister must be informed if there is a change of ownership of a forest
plantation which has received grant assistance. In all cases where the owner was not
eligible for the farmer rate of premium it will not be possible for the new owner to
qualify. In the case of an inheritance by a family member from a person who was in
receipt of the farmer rate, the new owner will continue to receive the farmer rate of
premium. However, in the case of a lifetime transfer to any individual, family
member or otherwise, the new owner will be required to meet the conditions as set
down above for receipt of the farmer rate.
JOINT MANAGEMENT CONSENT
The owner of the lands may give permission to an immediate family member
who is jointly managing the lands to claim the afforestation grant and premiums. A
joint management arrangement must be between immediate family members,
namely, husband and wife, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. Joint management
consent forms must comply with the template provided at Appendix 11 of the
Forestry Schemes Manual.
GRANTS AND PREMIUMS PAYABLE
The Grant and Premium rates payable are determined by the category of the planted
lands together with the tree species, farm size and area planted. Land Categories and
Grant & Premium Categories (GPCs) are defined below:
1. Unenclosed Land:- means land that was never improved and enclosed by
man-made boundaries for agricultural use other than extensive grazing.
2. Enclosed and Improved Land:- means land that was enclosed and improved for
agricultural use by cultivation, manuring, or both, and which is completely
surrounded by man-made boundaries and usually shown as such in Ordnance Survey
maps of scale 6 inches to 1 mile (1:10560).
GRANT AND PREMIUM CATEGORIES (GPC’S)
To be eligible for grant aid each plot within a plantation must conform to one of the
following Grant/Premium Categories (GPC’s).
GPC 1 – Unenclosed land
All approved broadleaves and conifers planted on unenclosed land receive the
unenclosed grant and premium rates.
GPC 2 – Sitka spruce/ Lodgepole Pine
This plot is made up of Sitka spruce or lodgepole pine. For landscape purposes, it is
advisable to introduce a small number of other species into this plot. This plot on its
own as a plantation is not eligible for grant aid because it does not comply with
plantation rules 1 and 2.
GPC 3 – 20% diverse mix
This plot is made up of an intimate mix of Sitka Spruce or Lodgepole Pine and a
suitable diverse conifer (normally Japanese larch or hybrid larch). The diverse
conifer content must be at least 20%. This 20% mix can be made up of trees
intimately mixed through the plantation, trees planted in groups through the
plantation or a combination of both. The diverse conifer species in this intimate mix
may be substituted by suitable broadleaves but these broadleaves cannot also be used
to satisfy Plantation Rule 1.
GPC 4 – Diverse
This plot is made up of acceptable conifer species other than Sitka Spruce and
GPC 5 – Broadleaf (Non Oak/Beech)
This plot is made up of acceptable broadleaves other than Oak and Beech.
GPC 6 – Oak
This plot is made up of pure oak and/or an oak/conifer mix. The only conifers
acceptable for this mixture are Scots pine and European larch. Chapter 9, paragraph
9.10 of the Forestry Schemes Manual details the stocking and spacing requirements
for an oak/conifer mix).
GPC 7 – Beech
This plot is made up of pure beech and/or a beech/conifer mix. The only conifers
acceptable for this mixture are Scots Pine and European Larch. Chapter 9, paragraph
9.10 of the Forestry Schemes Manual details the stocking and spacing requirements
for a beech/conifer mix).
MAXIMUM GRANT AND PREMIUM LEVELS
Table 6.1: Maximum Grant Rates per hectare
Grant/premium Category 1st. Instalment 2nd. Instalment Total Grant .
(GPC). €/ha. €/ha. €/ha
GPC 1 – Unenclosed 2031.58 698.36 2729.94
GPC 2- Non Diverse 2031.58 698.36 2729.94
GPC 3 – 20% Diverse 2158.55 698.36 2856.91
GPC 4 – Diverse 2412.50 761.84 3174.35
GPC 5 – Broadleaf 3809.21 1142.76 4951.98
GPC 6 – Oak 4825.00 1523.69 6348.69
GPC 7 – Oak and Beech 5078.95 1650.66 6729.61
Table 6.2 Maximum Premium Rates per Hectare
Grant / Premium Farmer Premium € / ha. Non-Farmer
Category (GPC) (annual payment for 20 years) Premium € / ha.
Plantation area (a.p.15 years)
<6ha >=6ha >=12ha
GPC 1 – Unenclosed 209.51 209.51 209.51 171.41
GPC 2 – Non Diverse 336.48 349.18 361.88
GPC 3 – 20% Diverse 391.08 403.78 416.47
GPC 4 – Diverse 416.47 429.17 441.87
GPC 5 – Broadleaf 441.87 454.57 467.26 184.11
(except oak and beech)
GPC 6 – Oak 473.61 486.31 499.01
GPC 7 – Beech 473.61 486.31 499.01
The following plantation rules apply;