New scheme aims to put Donegal farmers in clover
Hardy cattle, broadleaf trees and plenty of clover could prove a winning combination for farmers and the environment in north Donegal, say the backers of a new initiative in the county.
The Inishowen Uplands Project is a €1m programme funded over four years by the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) and the Department of Agriculture.
Launched last weekend in Carndonagh, the project will eventually involve around 20 farmers adopting a menu of management practices designed to increase farm incomes while tackling specific local challenges such as flooding.
"The key objective for the project from the outset was that it had to drive farm income," said Henry O'Donnell, project manager.
A small group of local farmers, including Mr O'Donnell and John McGilloway, a specialist in rural development, were the architects of the successful EIP application for Inishowen.
The project is based on designing a whole-farm approach to landscape management in the north Donegal peninsula.
"Managing uplands just can't be done in isolation," Mr O'Donnell pointed out.
There are three main planks to the initiative. These involve the introduction of cattle onto the upland areas of Inishowen; the adoption of agroforestry by the farmers involved; and the use of clover on the lowland grazing and silage ground.