Minister Lyons announces £840,000 for NI farm innovation projects

Seven groups across Northern Ireland have been awarded £840,000 to work with farmers in developing practical solutions to address problems and opportunities for the agri-food industry.

The money has been made available under the European Innovation Partnership scheme, the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

The groups bring together expertise from advisers, researchers and businesses to take forward project proposals which address a range of issues facing farmers.

These include options for reducing carbon emissions, improving water quality, improving animal health and welfare and reducing the use of pesticides.

Announcing the funding award, Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons said: “It is very encouraging to see farmers, advisers, researchers and industry representatives coming together to develop innovative solutions to real issues on the key themes of environmental sustainability, improving productivity and animal health and welfare.

“I look forward to seeing the benefits of this work rolled out to the wider agri-food industry over the next three years.”

Mark Horton MBE, project manager for the Water Innovation Network group, thanked DAERA for the support provided by the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) scheme.

“We are delighted that we have been awarded European Innovation Partnership Funding to deliver a project that will develop and trial innovative ways for farmers to manage water across the farm, providing win-win solutions for both farm businesses and our freshwater environment,” he said.

Using a combination of digital technologies and nature-based water management systems, we will work with farmers in the Ballinderry River catchment, near Cookstown, to trial water management solutions that can make environmental protection less costly for our farmers, whilst protecting our precious rivers, loughs and the wildlife that depend on them.

The EIP Scheme is part of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme and is also part-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

The scheme is being delivered by the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).