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Can forestry add to your BPS? - Jonathan Spazzi Teagasc forestry advisor

Jonathan Spazzi Teagasc forestry advisor

Reporter:

Jonathan Spazzi Teagasc forestry advisor

Email:

news@limerickleader.ie

Can forestry add to your BPS? - Jonathan Spazzi Teagasc forestry advisor

FARMERS, maximise your income from the same plot of land by availing of forestry premiums and basic payments.

For qualifying applicants, land planted in 2020 can continue to draw down the Basic payments provided a number of criteria are fulfilled. As the 2020 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) application deadline of May 15 approaches, the following Q&As will explain how both schemes complement each other.

Can I draw down BPS payments on my forestry land?

The short answer is yes, once a number of basic scheme requirements are met. Essentially, eligible land that was declared in a Single Payment Scheme (SPS) application in 2008 and which was planted in any year since 2009 or which will be planted in 2020 can continue to be eligible for a BPS payment in 2020 provided it satisfies a number of conditions including the following:

n The land to be planted was declared on a 2008 SPS. application.

n The declared land was eligible for SPS in 2008.

n The area must have given a right to payment under the 2008 Single Payment Scheme.

In terms of planting some land, what does this mean to me money-wise? Outside of drawing down the annual BPs payment on eligible land, a farmer could receive an additional payment of between €510 to €680 per hectare for 15 years, depending on the land type and the tree species planted. The cost of establishment and early maintenance will generally be covered by the afforestation grant. In most cases, this means that there will be no cost to the farmer in establishing his/her new forest.

How can planting land be of benefit to a farmer’s BPS application?

Land that met all SPS requirements in 2008 but was red-lined at a later date because of encroaching scrub may be considered for establishing a grant-aided forest as well as BPS entitlements, provided that all forestry and BPS requirements continue to be met, including suitability of the land type. If in any doubt, seek full clarity from the DAFM’s BPS section in advance of planting.

You can consider the planting of eligible land you purchased or inherited. Such land may also be eligible for a BPS payment provided it satisfies all of the eligibility criteria outlined above.

You may buy an existing eligible forest parcel and use it to activate purchased entitlements; provided all BPS eligibility requirements are met, the forestry contract number is valid and in the name of the applicant and the applicant is eligible for forest premium payment in the BPS scheme year in question.

Please note, this scenario list is not exhaustive and farmers need to be fully informed before committing a valuable resource.

Where can I get further information?

Getting one-to-one advice is very important before making a permanent land use change. Farmers plant forestry for numerous reasons such as guaranteed income, biodiversity, landscaping and (potentially) reducing the workload on the farm. Teagasc foresters provide independent and objective advice on forestry matters to all landowners. Their contact details and further info on forestry and BPS can be found at www.teagasc.ie/forestry