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Reps Farmers Urged To Check Out Forestry By Wallace

Noting the current series of REPS4 information evenings being hosted by her Department, Ms. Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with responsibility for Forestry, encouraged farmers to evaluate the forestry options when considering REPS4.

Minister of State Wallace commented "When looking at the various options open to them, it would be remiss of farmers not to look at forestry. The eREPS system will provide every farmer preparing a REPS plan with a forestry scenario for his/her farm based on the Forest Environment Protection Scheme (FEPS) and/or the Afforestation Scheme".

The Afforestation Scheme provides 100% establishment grants for planting and an annual tax-free premium up to €573.86 per hectare for up to 20 years. An additional premium of up to €200 per hectare for five years is available to farmers in REPS who join FEPS. FEPS was introduced by Minister of State Wallace in early 2007 and is targeted directly at REPS farmers. FEPS is designed to encourage the establishment of high-nature-value woodlands on REPS farms, a new type of forestry that combines a high environmental contribution with strong economic potential.

Minister of State Wallace added "I am encouraged by the take-up of FEPS to date with some 800 hectares planted under that scheme in the first six months of this year and more applications currently being processed".

The Minister of State also referred to the two National Farm Forestry Demonstrations being organised by Teagasc at which it was planned to have live demonstrations on ground preparation, fencing, planting and environmental issues and at which information would be available on the afforestation scheme, FEPS and other forestry schemes. Minister of State Wallace concluded by saying "I would like farmers to be well-informed about forestry so that they can see for themselves what is involved in forestry and what the returns are - both short-term and long-term. I encourage farmers to ask their REPS planners about the forestry option and to attend the information meetings and the forestry demonstrations, to avail of the opportunities to explore the benefits of forestry".

19 October, 2007

Date Released: 19 October 2007