Farm Innovation Visits Application Form - ROI Upland Biodiversity

Closed 14 May 2023

Opened 2 May 2023


The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in association with the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) is offering farmers opportunity to travel to visit upland farms and projects in the west of Ireland participating in a range of initiatives supporting biodiversity through results-based schemes.

Participants will learn about practical, innovative, and potentially transferable approaches to enhancing their sustainability and on farm biodiversity.

The Farm Innovation Visit (FIV) will focus on outcome-based initiatives where farmers are incentivised to deliver desired results rather than being paid to follow set prescriptions such as in previous agri – environment schemes.

The programme will commence, with a visit in County Sligo to Farming for Nature  ambassador Clive Brights who farms 50 hectares of marginal land. Clive produces and sells directly 100% grass-fed organic beef using traditional breeds. Mob grazing is used to ensure grasslands get appropriate recovery times to promote soil health, and to create and maintain species rich grasslands. Silvopasture is also used to improve soil structure on heavy clay land to reduce rush cover and create diverse habitats. 

There will be an evening presentation and meeting with participants in the innovative Burren European Innovation Partnership (EIP) project which trialled results-based incentives for on-farm biodiversity outcomes with payment based on the grassland meadow biodiversity results achieved. This will be followed up by visits on day 2 and 3 to farms in four results-based projects.

The Slieve Aughty Hen Harrier project is an EIP locally led scheme, that encourages and rewards farming for conservation with incentives and support rather than penalties. All eligible land is scored annually with a user-friendly scorecard with higher scores receiving higher payments. This gives farmers the incentive to manage their fields in ways that will improve the habitat condition and their payment as well.

The programme will also highlight the role of the Wild Atlantic nature LIFE IP and the work being supported by the Shared Island initiative where multiple interested parties, both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland are participating in the delivery of multiple outcomes including Biodiversity.

The Wild Atlantic Nature LIFE IP works with farmers, local communities and landowners to add value to the wide range of services provided from the Special Area of Conservation (SAC) network of blanket bogs and associated areas. As part of the project, a pilot voluntary Results Based Payment Scheme (RBPS) is be linked to the quality of the habitat, thereby putting landowners and their skills, expertise and knowledge of their land central to the development of this project.

These EIP projects are now being incorporated into the new ACRES scheme and the day 3 visits focus on the ACRES Breifne project which is the first large-scale roll-out of a results based agri-environment scheme in Ireland. It is designed to maximise the delivery of ecosystem services from High Nature Value farmland.



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