The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has announced the opening of its 2023 €1.5m Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme.
The scheme funds the conservation and preservation of traditional farm buildings and structures, such as historic yard surfaces, gates and gate pillars, as part of the working farm.
Many of the supported structures also provide roosting sites for bats and nesting sites for birds.
The DAFM runs the grant scheme in partnership with the Heritage Council and invests in the conservation of traditional farm buildings and structures of “significant” heritage value that contribute to Ireland’s rural landscape for agricultural use.
Who is eligible?
Eligible applicants for the scheme are chosen on what the DAFM brands to be “a competitive basis”, and it expects that some 70 to 80 projects will be supported.
Up to now, only farmers approved in GLAS were eligible to apply, but following the implementation of the new CAP on January 1st, 2023, eligible applicants are:
- Active agri-environment scheme participants, including ACRES;
- EIP Calls 1, 2 and 3, Hen Harrier and Pearl Mussel projects and the Burren Scheme who was an active participant as of December 31st, 2022 or had completed the full term of the contract for the relevant EIP, or have completed a five-year contract, as appropriate;
- An approved participant of the Organic Farming Scheme.
According to the DAFM, in 2023, grant amounts will vary between €4,000 to €30,000, and payments will be issued following certification by the Heritage Council.
The DAFM has stated that a grant award will not be for more than 75% of the cost of the works with a maximum available grant of €30,000, and some grants will be for less than 75% of the cost of the approved works.
How to apply
Funding applications must be submitted via the Heritage Council’s Online Grants System via this external link (you will be re-directed off That’s Farming’s website if you click that link), and the closing date for receipt of applications is 5 pm on April 24th, 2023.
The previous GLAS Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme, which ran from 2016 to 2022, conserved more than 580 buildings throughout Ireland for agricultural use and discovered and conserved over 300 previously unknown roots of protected species.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD said that the announcement demonstrates both his and the government’s commitment to investing in “our farming heritage using conservation methods”.
“This is a hugely important scheme for conserving the past for the demands of the future.”
“It is more than securing a building – it is about preserving a history, a culture and a way of life.”
The minister added that the partnership between the DAFM and the Heritage Council has been “critical” to the success of this scheme.
He outlined that it is an example of how two entities with very different missions can pool resources and expertise to deliver a scheme to a level that “neither could achieve alone”.
“I have seen, first-hand, completed projects, and I know farmers who have benefited under the scheme have a much better appreciation of their own cultural and natural heritage.”
“I encourage all eligible participants to consider applying for it and look forward to seeing further completed projects later this year,” the minister added.
Chief Executive of the Heritage Council, Virginia Teehan, commented that the “innovative” scheme, by securing the historic building stock, also recognises the role these buildings play as wildlife habitats and as contributors to Ireland’s rural landscape.
“We know that many of these buildings can support a great diversity of wildlife, including species of conservation concern, and this scheme works with farmers to support, enhance and safeguard the wildlife inhabiting these buildings.”
“This grant scheme also actively supports the retention of traditional building skills in Ireland.”
“A particularly satisfying impact uncovered in the evaluation is the increased awareness amongst farmers of their value and their readiness to use them in the future.”
“96% of farmers surveyed are more inclined now to use traditional craftworkers if they need special works done. This is an impact for the sector with real longevity,” Teehan concluded.
Further articles to follow on That’s Farming on this.