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Wallace encourages farmers to consider FEPS

Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food with responsibility for Forestry, has said that she is encouraged by the level of interest being shown in the new Forest Environment Protection Scheme (FEPS) which she launched last month.

A series of special Information evenings on FEPS and Forestry are being organised by Teagasc at centres all round Ireland and Minister Wallace urged farmers to attend these so that they can make a decision on forestry and, in particular, FEPS, on an informed basis. The Forest Environment Protection Scheme (FEPS) is to encourage the establishment of high nature value forestry on farms which participate in REPS and will operate on a pilot basis during 2007.

A premium, in addition to the relevant afforestation premium, of up to €200 per hectare for the first five years will be available to farmers in REPS who join FEPS and plant part of their land in accordance with the provisions for forestry laid down in the new scheme. The additional payments under FEPS will replace the premium payable under REPS in respect of land to be afforested. The full suite of existing forestry supports will also apply, including 100% grants for planting and a 20-year premium.

The Information evenings are being organised by Teagasc with the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture and Food also represented. Encouraging farmers to attend the information evenings, the Minister of State advised

"As with any new scheme being introduced, it is important that farmers are aware of all the benefits, obligations and implications of the scheme so it is important that they avail of this opportunity to learn about the scheme and to raise their queries. I am sure that, when they hear about the scheme, they will realise that FEPS is a real option for their land".

Full details of the terms and conditions of the scheme, including an application form, are available on the Forest Service section of the Department's website at or by contacting the Forest Service, Department of Agriculture and Food, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford, LoCall 1890 200 223. Information may also be obtained from Teagasc offices and from approved Forestry companies and consultants.

21 February 2007

Date Released: 21 February 2007