Coillte partnerships with over 630 farmers
These agreements date back to 1993
Coillte Premium Partners is for landowners with high quality, commercial forest crops where forestry premium payments have expired, or will shortly expire.
It is suitable for crops of approximately 20 years of age, which are Yield Class 20 or above and are predominantly Sitka spruce. The commercial portion of the crop should ideally be 10ha or greater.
Coillte has about 630 landowners in 695 farm partnerships, totalling about 12,800 hectares.
The counties with most partnerships are Galway and Tipperary with about 100 each. Next come Kilkenny with 73, Cork with 62, Waterford with 44, and Wicklow/Dublin with 42. There are about 30 partnerships each in Cavan, Clare, and Limerick.
They are land-lease partnerships in which Coillte plants and manages the forest until harvesting at the clear-fell stage. The partnership agreement terminates after 40 years or the date of clearfell, whichever happens first.
All Coillte forests — including those forests involving farm partnerships — are independently audited and certified as being well managed to both Forest Stewardship Council and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification standard.
Since the 1990s, there have been seven partnership schemes with 35 variations.
“The partner or the landowner receives the majority of the value, and Coillte’s split is, on average, about 40%”
“Coillte have paid out €70m, including €20.8m to landowner partners, and €30m to contractors for planting (which is covered by about €33m received in grants)”
“The average size of forest established under the scheme was 23.7 ha, with Sitka spruce the most popular species planted. The average annual payment under the scheme was 8077 euros. For 46% of those surveyed, the returns from the Farm Partnership Scheme comprised all of their farm income.”