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Hayes Announces Extension of State Aid Approval for Forestry

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes TD, today welcomed the formal confirmation from the European Commission of the prolongation of the State aid approval for the Forestry Programme which has facilitated the re-opening of the Afforestation and other support schemes.

Commenting, Minister Hayes stated “this formal notification of the prolongation of the State Aid allows my Department to continue to financially support applications for afforestation and the range of supports schemes, including roads, pending the development of new Schemes under the new Forestry Programme 2014-2020.  The terms and conditions of the current Schemes including 20 year premiums and current rates of grant and premium payments will continue to apply to applications financially approved up to and including 30 June 2014”.  He added “the registered foresters and forestry companies who act on behalf of applicants have been informed of the re-opening of the schemes and we’re now open for business”.

Minister Hayes also stated that he was pleased  to confirm for prospective forestry applicants, that the current arrangement whereby  payment of the forest premium and the Single Farm Payment on the same land will continue under the new Forestry Programme 2014-2020.  The same rules will apply as before, the main one being that the land being planted must have been eligible to draw down Single Farm Payment in 2008  (see note for Editors below)   “I am aware that some people have been holding off on making decisions to plant forestry because of concerns about their future Single farm Payment  entitlements. I am happy to provide them with the necessary assurance to enable them to opt for forestry and the attractive incentives that are available to plant”.

 Note for Editors

Following changes to the EU Regulations, land which was afforested since 2009 and land which will be afforested in 2014 or later years will be eligible to draw down Single Farm Payment   provided that the  afforested land meets the following requirements:

  • The land to be afforested was declared on a 2008 SPS application form;
    • The applicant who declared that land on a 2008 SPS application form was paid under the 2008 Single Payment Scheme;
  • The land to be afforested was eligible to draw down an SPS payment in 2008;
    • Applicants, who afforest part of their holding from 2009 onwards and wish to benefit from the Single Payment, must retain at least 10% of the eligible hectares declared in 2008 (by the applicant or their predecessor) in an agricultural activity subject to a minimum of 3 hectares.
    • If the applicant is a new entrant to farming, the minimum area to be retained in an agricultural activity will be fixed by the Department on a case by case basis.
    • Applicants, who wish to benefit from the Single Payment on afforested land, must be the person or persons in receipt of the afforestation premium or in joint management with the person in receipt of afforestation premium. This applies to members of the same family.
    • The afforested land meets all the requirements of the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme, FEPS or the Native Woodland Establishment Scheme;
    • Eligible Forestry parcels that are declared on SPS applications to activate entitlements will also be subject to cross-compliance requirements.

 

Applicants, who plant land parcels in 2014 before submitting their SPS application, should declare the land as “other” in column 9 and “Forestry 2014” in column 10.

Consolidation of newly afforested land will therefore no longer be required. 

The same provisions will apply under the Basic Payment Scheme from 2015.

 

View Press Release as PDF:  DAFMPR17/2014 (pdf 648Kb) 

Date Released: 11 February 2014