Biodiversity Action Plan Recognises Role Farmers are Playing

IFA Environment & Rural Affairs chair John Murphy said it is encouraging to see that the 4th National Biodiversity Action Plan recognises the scale of the work that’s ongoing by farmers to improve biodiversity.

“It is important to note that Irish farmers are already contributing strongly to biodiversity. On average, farms in Ireland have about 13% of their land dedicated to Space for Nature.  As well as that, farmers have committed to further significant measures as part of the Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES), which will be positive.”

“The extended power of the plan and the scope of the actions – be they legislative, policy or programme-related – will need to be fully considered. Farmers do have concerns, particularly around the impact some of the actions will have on their livelihoods,” he said.

He said that it is vital that the plan is adequately funded to give farmers confidence. More support is needed to deliver on the plan and clarity will be needed. A follow-on commitment from the Government to providing this support is now essential.

“It is positive to see the action within the plan to ensure that the NPWS Farm Plan Scheme is adequately resourced.  This is essential in order to support farmers to deliver on the conservation objectives in protected areas, but the scheme must fully compensate, both for the income loss and the devaluation of the land asset,” he said.

“The positive engagement by farmers with European Innovation Programmes (EIP), LIFE and other projects demonstrates a willingness by farmers to adapt when they are supported, both from an advisory and financial perspective, to implement more nature positive practices,” he said.

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