The new FarmPEAT EIP programme has been launched by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The project will develop a locally-led, innovative, results-based farm scheme for farmers who manage lands that surround some of Ireland’s remaining raised bogs.
The launch took place in Co Offaly today (Thursday, July 29) and is the latest in a series of EIP projects funded by the Department under Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020.
In total, €64m has been earmarked by the Department to these EIP projects over the lifetime of the RDP.
‘It’s encouraging to see work beginning on these inland bogs,” added the Minister.
“Raised bogs represent one of the most valuable natural ecosystems in Ireland.
"The appropriate management of adjacent agricultural lands that surround them can play an important role in maintaining and enhancing their long-term conservation value.
“The project will work with local farmers to design and trial a programme specially adapted to the local landscape.
“It will reward farmers for improved management of habitats on peat soils along with other important landscape features such as eskers, field boundaries and watercourses.”
FarmPEAT is funded by the Department with a budget of €1.2m that will run for two years.
The sites are located in the Irish midland counties of Roscommon, Offaly, Kildare and Westmeath and were selected to represent the geographic spread of raised bogs in the midlands.
The location also allows the Programme to support already completed restoration work and research conducted on the high bogs themselves.
The programme will be results-based in that farmers will get paid based on the scores they achieve, with higher scores, indicating higher environmental quality, securing higher payments.
It is anticipated that it will form a basis for future agri-environmental schemes in these areas.
It also presents an opportunity for farmers to be involved in developing policy that could provide long-term environmental and economic benefits to their communities in the future.
EIP is funded through Ireland’s RDP and aims to promote local solutions to specific issues.
It involves the establishment of operational groups to develop ideas or take existing ideas/research and put them into practice by working towards the resolution of a practical problem.