CLOSE on 200 farmers in the South Galway and East Clare area – the Slieve Aughty hinterland – are set to receive their first payments in the environmental and conservation scheme aimed at protecting the Hen Harrier bird species.
Local Minister of State, Ciaran Cannon, confirmed this week that the first ‘payment run’ under the scheme was being made to 190 participants with a payout of €500,000, an average of just over €2,600 per applicant.
He said that further payments would be made over the coming weeks with a total of 629 applicants to benefit from the scheme between now and Christmas.
The Minister said that the monies were being paid out on a ‘results based’ payment system for the habitat quality delivered by the farmers during the 2018 breeding season.
“The Hen Harrier Programme is a scheme under the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Rural Development Programme and is one of the new types of locally-led schemes under the Rural Development Programme.
“The purpose of the programme is to pilot new approaches to farming for conservation and rewards farmers, including a number in South Galway, for improving the natural habitat and for the delivery of defined environmental objectives,” said Minister Cannon.
Woodford farmer and IFA activist, P. J. Conroy, told the Farming Tribune that after two years of hard work the payments being made to farmers participating in the scheme were very welcome.
“I think that more farmers will participate in the scheme once they see that it can work. Farmers with Hen Harrier designation, face an awful lot of restrictions, but at least this compensation will be a help to them,” said P. J. Conroy.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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