The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) is calling for an extension to the time-frame for prescribed burning to March 31.

INHFA National Chairman Vincent Roddy said there has being no suitable time since last September to carry out prescribed burning due to very wet conditions.

“Proposals to extend the dates to the end of March was before the Dail but wasn’t enacted due to the announcement of the election,” Roddy said.

“The extension of this date is now essential for many hill farmers who had areas identified for prescribed burning in order to help maintain their land in a state suitable for grazing.”

Following meetings between the INHFA and the Department of Agriculture, the Association say assurances were given them that controlled or prescribed burning is an acceptable agricultural activity in maintaining mountain type land in a state suitable for grazing.

“In effect, controlled burning is as essential to improving the vegetation and agricultural return from mountain type land as ploughing or reseeding is for lowland,” said Roddy.

He concluded by pointing out how hill farmers need to be afforded the same opportunity that has being given to other farming sectors as a result of adverse weather.