Hill farmers call for €150/ac payment on designated land
A payment of €150/ha on all designated land (Natura) is being sought by the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA).
The INHFA demand follows the commencement of the formal ratification of Natura 2000 sites by the Department of Agriculture.
"While landowners have being operating under the burden of these candidate designations for some time, no recognition of their actual burden has been acknowledged by the State," said INHFA president Colm O'Donnell.
Mr O'Donnell said the €150/ha was justified given the restrictions placed on farmers with Natura lands.
"There are 39 activities requiring consent (ARCs), which even if received often means a financial cost to farmers through the requirement of planning," he pointed out.
Currently farmers with Natura lands are restricted from fencing, reclamation or ploughing, digging or infilling, said Mr O'Donnell.
Further restrictions include increasing or reducing the holding's stocking rate or type of stock, controlled burning, applying lime, fertiliser or farmyard manure.