IFA Farm Forestry Chairman, Pat Collins is concerned that the rate of farmer planting will continue to fall if farmers are not paid on all land they are obliged to set aside for environmental enhancement under the Environmental Requirements for Afforestation.
He said the level of farmer planting has fallen significantly under the current Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020.
He added that lot of farmers who entered into forestry in good faith and adhered to the conditions of the Afforestation Scheme are frustrated that their forestry payments and productive area was unfairly reduced in recent years.
He says the the Government now expects farmers to set good productive land aside for environmental enhancement but they will not be paid a premium on the land if the area they are required to set aside exceeds 15% of the claimed area.
Mr Collins says it is unacceptable to expect farmers to reduce productive area and not be paid for the environmental services, such as habitat protection and clean water that they provide.
IFA has requested a meeting with Minister of State for Forestry, Andrew Doyle, to ensure that farmers are paid on all land they are obliged to set aside under the Environmental Requirements for Afforestation.