The Clare Burren
Burren farms in the Clare area, especially those across the 'high Burren', typically consist of holdings with large winterage fields and smaller areas of improved grassland, or green 'summer' land. Cattle are overwintered on the rocky high-ground and in spring the livestock are brought to the more productive lowlands for the summer. This low-input grazing practise allows flowers to bloom and set seed each summer resulting in some of the most flower-rich grasslands in Europe. The lowlands also have very unique habitats such as turloughs and alkaline fens which require careful grazing management
What's new for ACRES CP?
ACRES CP aims to build on the wide-ranging progress made in the Burren Programme. Farmers will continue to receive results-based payments for the condition of their species-rich land, i.e. the winterages and lowland grasslands fields. In ACRES-CP, the "green land" will now also be scored with a new focus being put on improving biodiversity and water quality within these fields. NPIs such as fencing waterbodies, installing water troughs and Burren gates may be approved for payment if there is an environmental benefit.
Private lands will be scored by approved ACRES-trained farm advisors in the first, third and fifth years of each participant's contract. These scores will inform the annual results-based payments and generate management recommendations for each field. The farmer and farm advisor can then draw up annual NPI plans to target works to address any issues and improve field scores. If larger scale work is required, the CP teams can be contacted to plan larger-scale Landscape Actions.
There is a renewed focus on commonage management in ACRES CP. Commonages are scored during the summer by the CP teams. Once scored, the CP teams will engage with commonage shareholders to create meaningful management and action plans. These plans aim to achieve appropriate grazing levels, highlight and mitigate against damaging activities and to help improve the management of the commonage for the stakeholders. Where appropriate, funded action and works plans can be drawn up in consultation with the CP team and other shareholders to help with the overall management, and to improve the score and payment on the commonage.
Regional manager for the Clare Burren area
If you're a farmer in the Clare area of the CP, please feel free to contact me for any queries you may have about your farm and the scheme, and I'll aim to help as best I can.