By Nicola Corless
THE Burren Farming for Conservation Programme will be included in new Rural Development Programme, it had been confirmed.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Simon Coveney announced that €12.5 billion of funds will be sanctioned through the Irish Government and the CAP’s Pillar II programme to the agriculture sector in the period up to 2020.
Clare TD Pat Breen said that inclusion of Burren Farming for Conservation Programme in the new Rural Development Programme and the proposals to introduce a new agri-environment scheme were particularly welcome.
“I am in regular contact with the farming community and I am very much aware to the challenges facing farm families at this time. Indeed, the recent storm has placed Clare farmers under further pressures with thousands of acres of land now under water,” Deputy Breen said.
“There was a very good uptake from Clare farmers for the previous REPS and AEOS scheme and the GLAS scheme will build on the progress made under these schemes. A maximum payment of €5,000 per farmer will apply and it is expected that there will be up to 50,000 farmers participating at its peak. I expect that this will include a significant number of Clare farmers,” Deputy Breen went on.
Mr Breen said the farmers in this area of North Clare have a real appreciation of the unique landscape of the Burren and overtime have developed methods of farming, which has delivered significant environmental benefits including improved water quality and the protection of the Burren’s natural wildlife.
The administrators of this programme will now be invited to participate in the consultation process which the Department of Agriculture is undertaking in order to develop the new programme which will run from 2014-2020.