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Minister Coveney announces commencement of payments under the New Burren Farming for Conservation Programme

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today confirmed that payments under the new, three-year, €3 million Burren Farming for Conservation Programme (BFCP) would begin issuing to farmers as and from Friday 24th June. This is a three-year agri-environmental programme, which was open to all farmers who farm in the Burren region in north Clare and south Galway.

Minister Coveney said "I am delighted to confirm the issuing of  payments averaging  €6,000 to 117 farmers under the BFCP to support high environmental value farming in the Burren which is one of Ireland's outstanding landscapes and is known worldwide".

Minister Coveney noted "that in its first year the BFCP has already generated significant environmental benefits including a major shift away from the feeding of silage to ration-based feeding systems, the repair of 18km of broken walls, the provision of new water supplies and the removal of scrub from species rich grassland. These developments will  result in improved water quality in this very sensitive karst landscape, protect sensitive limestone springs from pollution and allow the Burren's famous rare flora to emerge every spring".  In addition a new networks of paths have been opened up - helping to keep the landscape open and accessible and protecting some of Europe's rarest grasslands.

Minister Coveney emphasised that "in the particularly tough financial climate it is essential that funding is focused on programmes delivering, identifiable and verifiable agri-environmental measures. Without doubt the BFCP guarantees excellent value for money - farmers are paid on the basis of work done and outputs generated and all works are co-financed by the farmer - and are improving the biodiversity, water quality, cultural and landscape attributes on almost 13,000 hectares  of Ireland's flagship heritage landscape, the Burren".

Date Released: 24 June 2011