Agri-environment pilot: ‘There needs to be appreciation of how much farms give back’

Farmers are being called on to engage with the public consultation for a new agri-environmental pilot scheme.

Making the calls, Louth senator Erin McGreehan said: “Any agri-environmental scheme needs to work for the farmers.”

The senator said that what is needed is a “straightforward scheme” that reduces the “red tape” and increases the rewards both financially and achieve environmental results.

“Farming and our environment are intertwined – one cannot operate without the other. There needs to be an appreciation of how much our farms give back. There needs to be a concept of carbon credits given to the farmers.

We have over 400,000km of hedgerows across the country, which work to protect our biodiversity, improve drainage, provide shelter and are a safe haven for billions of creatures. This highway of rich value should be encouraged, enhanced and protected.

The pilot is one aspect contained within a €79 million package of measures secured as part of Budget 2021.

This pilot is to be designed as a result-based initiative aimed at rewarding farmers for carrying out “meaningful environmental actions” and is aimed at those farmers who are not part of the current GLAS (Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme) programme.

The application process is expected to open in the second quarter of 2021 and the deadline for consultation is February 26, 2021.