McConalogue launches €5 million Pilot Farm Environmental Study

Published on: 17 December 2021

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD today launched a major investment of €5 million in a pilot Farm Environmental Study (FES). This pilot will establish a framework to generate a database of baseline habitat and biodiversity data at the farm-level and will provide the scope for an inventory of farm habitats and biodiversity present and a baseline for future targeting of agri-environmental schemes and measures.

The Pilot Stage of FES will focus on the roll out of farm level habitat surveys on approximately 6,500 farms. The Pilot FES measure will provide the farmer with important information on the of biodiversity and environmental assets on his/her own farm. This new level of biodiversity data will provide the farmer with greater awareness of the biodiversity potential on their lands and help them tailor their management practices to help farm with nature in mind.

Minister McConalogue said: “I am really excited about bringing forward this new pilot FES. I believe it is the launch pad for a whole new and untapped potential for Irish agriculture.  Having a baseline knowledge of the biodiversity resources we have on our farms is essential going forward. In order to tackle the challenges of the future, we first must know the potential of the present and the FES is central to this new era we are facing into. Since the initial announcement of this pilot project roll out, my Department has contracted the operation and delivery of this important environmental initiative. The Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA) will coordinate the roll out of this survey effort. The ACA have agricultural advisors all over the country and they have a wealth of experience in providing agricultural advisory services to farmers and will bring this to the pilot measure in addition to providing ecological perspectives to the surveys.  I look forward to seeing the final result of what FES will deliver for our farms and farmers."

President of ACA, Tom Canning stated that “ACA and its members are delighted to be part of this important pilot study, which will be valuable for the future of the agricultural sector. ACA are confident that there are significant environmental assets currently in Ireland, and once recorded, will greatly assist towards our commitments to both our National and EU responsibilities under climate change and related policies. He added ‘I wish to sincerely thank Ministers Hackett and McConalogue and ACA look forward to working closely with all DAFM officials involved in this study to ensure its success”

The FES advisor training module will commence shortly, and the measure will open to farmers in quarter 1 2022. Farm surveys will be carried out over the spring and summer 2022.

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