Local farmers to get boost to their businesses from five-year £3.4 million National Lottery Heritage Fund Scheme
Farmers in the Binevenagh and coastal lowlands area are being given the opportunity to improve and grow their farm businesses through a range of projects offered as part of a Landscape Partnership Scheme. As part of this suite of projects, local farmers can benefit by opting into free Farm Resilience Plans, or by getting involved in the Curly Burn Catchment care project. The scheme estimates that there are at least 120 farms in the project area. In addition, at least 50% of the Curly Burn catchment area is utilised for livestock grazing, therefore local farmer involvement is key to the success of the projects and sustaining the benefits of the work into future generations. The catchment care project, and the farm resilience plans will not only help to achieve an improved and sustainable landscape into the future but will also assist farmers in creating a more efficient and profitable farm businesses from simple advice and suggested changes in land-use and farming practices. Availing of the farm resilience plans is free, and plans will be developed on a one-to-one basis and specifically tailored for each farm. They will provide a working document for use to apply for existing and future funding through DAERA (Environmental Farming Scheme and Forest Expansion Scheme) and from the Woodland Trust (MOREwoods and MOREhedges). Costs of some materials such as riverbank fencing, tree planting and cattle drinkers will be covered by the project.
The farms reliance plans will be delivered by project partners Fieldfare Ecology LTD, an established Wildlife and Farming Advice Consultancy, with extensive experience in biodiversity and wildlife planning.
The initial steps in this process will be inviting local farmers, landowners, and representatives from the community to an information event, where they can:
• Learn about multiple economic and environmental benefits
• Hear from existing applicants and their experiences and share experiences from other areas of Northern Ireland.
• Be updated about existing Environmental Schemes, grant aid and NGO support
• Talk to like-minded individuals (COVID-19 restrictions allowing)
• Sign up to proceeding with a farm plan
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, initial consultations with local farmers will be via digital channels and online meetings, but where possible, the Landscape Partnership team will endeavor to facilitate socially distanced information events in the local area.
The project is now open for emails of interest, and an online information event will take place via zoom on Tuesday 23rd February at 7.00pm. Please see the Binevenagh Facebook page to keep up to date with project news and events.
For further information on farm resilience plans, or to express an interest in developing environmental projects on your farm, please contact Aisling at firstname.lastname@example.org