Minister of State at the DAFM, Senator Pippa Hackett, has launched the new FarmPEAT EIP project.
She is allocating €1.2m to improve environmental quality of agricultural lands surrounding raised bogs.
FarmPEAT EIP project
The project is developing a locally-led, innovative, results-based farm scheme for farmers who manage lands surrounding “some of Ireland’s finest” remaining raised bogs.
This is the latest in series of EIP projects the DAFM funds under Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020.
In total, the department has committed €64 million to these EIP projects over RDP’s lifetime.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Hackett said: “It’s encouraging to see work beginning on these inland bogs.”
“Raised bogs represent one of the most valuable natural ecosystems in Ireland.”
“The appropriate management of adjacent agricultural lands that surround them can play an important role in maintaining and enhancing their long-term conservation value.
“The project will work with local farmers to design and trial a programme especially adapted to the local landscape.”
“It will reward farmers for improved management of habitats on peat soils along with other important landscape features such as eskers, field boundaries and watercourses. “
“All of that will I believe, combine to deliver enhanced environmental outcomes.”
Contract for 42 farmers
Caroline Lalor, the project manager, added:
“We are delighted with the interest that local farmers have expressed in the project.”
“We are offering 42 farmers a contract for the first year and are planning to offer additional places next year.
The programme will be results-based in that farmers will get paid based on the scores they achieve. Furthermore, higher scores indicate higher environmental quality, securing higher payments.
It is hoped that this programme will form a basis for future agri-environmental schemes in these areas.
As such, it presents an opportunity for farmers to be involved in developing policy that could provide long-term environmental and economic benefits to their communities into the future.