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Minister Coveney confirms the Issuing of Payments under the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Simon Coveney TD, today confirmed that payments under the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme (BFCP) have begun issuing to farmers as and from Monday 25th February. This is a third year of an agri-environmental programme, which was open to 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 totalling €948,000 to 147 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. This brings the allocation to participating famers by my Department over the three years of the Scheme to €2.85 million’’.

Minister Coveney noted that 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 over 56 kilometres broken walls, the provision of new water supplies and the removal of some 150 hectares of scrub from species rich grassland. These developments have resulted in improved water quality in this very sensitive karst landscape, protected sensitive limestone springs from pollution and allowed the Burren’s famous rare flora to emerge every spring.  In addition, a new network of 29 kilometres 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: 27 February 2013