SIMON Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, has announced the launch of the 2012 Bioenergy Scheme to grant aid the planting of willow and miscanthus crops as part of the re-opening of a range of Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Measures.
The Bioenergy Schemes have supported the planting of over 3,000 hectares of energy crops since 2007.
Announcing the 2012 Scheme, the Minister said, “The 2012 scheme will consolidate the progress made since 2007 in developing the energy crops sector in Ireland and has the potential to support in the region of 1,400 additional hectares in 2012.
“The scheme is now open for applications and interested farmers can apply for establishment grants of up to €1,300 per hectare to cover 50% of the costs of establishing these crops”.
Minister Coveney added “I have decided to amend the terms and conditions of the scheme so that participants are no longer required to maintain the crop for seven years as a condition of receiving grant-aid.
“I think that the removal of this condition should help to make the scheme more attractive to farmers without reducing their commitment to establishing and properly managing the crop once they make the planting investment.
“Taken together with the anticipated boost to demand from the proposed REFIT tariffs for biomass, I am confident that the scheme in 2012 will lead to increased interest from farmers who wish to become involved in energy crop production”.
The closing date for submission of applications for pre-planting approval is Wednesday 18th January 2012.
Details of the 2012 Bioenergy Scheme and application forms can be obtained from Biofuels Policy Unit, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Kea-Lew Business Park, Mountrath Road, Portlaoise, Co. Laois. Telephone 057-8692231/8692240 or at www.agriculture.gov.ie.