The first bulk payment of annual tax-free forestry premiums for 2018 has commenced to forest owners who applied online through www.agfood.ie. Some 7,300 forest premium applications have been paid this week amounting to €27.8 million. The Department will continue to process online applications for 2018 forest premiums as they are received, with payments continuing on a weekly basis throughout the year. For applicants who use the paper based application system, it is envisaged that a further bulk premium payment run will be made in April 2018. Application forms for the paper based system will be issued in February 2018 to forest owners who have not availed of the online application process by early February.