Shropshire farmers have been urged to make the most of woodland areas on their land as they could prove extremely profitable.
Our Director of Agriculture has called on farmers all over the county to reconsider their opinions about wooded land
“The sale prices for woodlands and forestry have been outstripping most other asset classes, with mixed woodland bringing in the highest prices, especially for smaller acreages,” said Mark.
“Plantation conifers have increased in value too, but there has also been real uncertainty over the future of woodland under the guidelines set out in national stewardship grant schemes.
“So many farmers have been tempted not to spend precious time and money on the wooded areas of their land, as they’re not sure if finance will be available for too much longer.”
But Mark said standing timber prices had been rising, and good quality conifers can produce up to £7,500 per acre after costs, and this income would be tax free.
“With the increasing popularity of biomass boilers, the demand for the right kind of timber has also grown – but it’s important to remember that if the sale is of woodchip rather than unprocessed logs, the income tax status will change to taxable.
“As with all areas of business though, budgets and management plans are essential if a woodland enterprise is to be managed profitably.
“It’s important to take expert advice on the best approach for each wooded area on your land, as each situation will be different, and the circumstances will need to be reviewed carefully.”
Mark said grants were available for famers who wanted to plant trees to create new woodland, with the opportunity to apply for funding reopening in 2016.
“Forestry assets could also be an important part of any inheritance tax or succession planning when farmers are looking at options for the future.
“Farmers should consider taking advantage of the capital gains tax and inheritance tax reliefs associated with woodland areas as they could prove extremely valuable, and could help save much-needed cash.”
Mark Griffiths, Director of Agriculture