The Burren Programme provides financial support to help farmers conserve the area’s environment while allowing them to continue producing quality livestock.
It provides payments for steps taken to conserve the Burren’s landscape, biodiversity, archaeology and water.
How to qualify
To be eligible for the Burren Programme applicants were required to be:
18 years or over on the closing date
an active herdowner with a valid annual application under the Basic Payment Scheme including the declaration of all lands farmed
farming a holding which includes at least one grazed habitat in the Burren region as set out in the scheme's conditions
Farms nominate a mixture of jobs to suit the needs of their land as part of a five-year plan.
The programme is delivered through two sets of jobs called interventions. The first set focuses on the management of grasslands and grazed habits. These works are then graded on performance. The second set reimburses you for a portion of the capital you invest in site enhancement works such as restoring stone walls.
Work carried out under the Burren Programme can include:
removing encroaching scrub from species-rich grassland
repairing internal walls
improving water supplies or enhancing access
purchase and installation of gates and feeding equipment
restoration of damaged habitats
Participants must submit a 5-year plan as part of the scheme. A selection criteria scoring system is used that takes into account participation in previous similar schemes and previous performance. You must comply with the conditions of the scheme.
Rates of payment
There is a maximum rate of €10,000 per year for Intervention 1 - grassland management - and €35,000 over the five years of the plan for Intervention 2 site enhancement works. Actual payments depend on the works done and how you score in terms of field management.
The scheme offers an incentive for farmers to maintain or improve the management of their land to benefit the Burren’s environment. Those farmers who use their knowledge, skill and experience to do this well, will be rewarded – the better the result, the higher the payment.
It uses a simple scoring systems to assess the environmental health of each field in the Programme. Every field in the programme will be scored by your trained farm advisor each summer and some will be also be checked by the local Burren team.
Higher scores for higher payments
The higher your fields score, the higher the payment you will receive. A field must score 5 or more to receive any payment. Fields which are exceptionally good (those scoring 9 or 10) will earn proportionally higher payments in recognition of the skill and hard work needed to achieve these high scores.
The scoring systems differs slightly depending on the habitat - winterage or Burren lowland grassland.
The scheme is no longer open to new entrants. Information regarding the Burren Programme can be obtained from High Nature Value Services Ltd who administer the scheme at a local level - www.burrenprogramme.com.