Minister Hackett launches call for new locally-led scheme for rewetting of farmed peatland

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Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett today launched a call for a new locally-led  scheme for rewetting of farmed peatland. This is an Open Call under the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Programme using the  European Innovation Partnerships Initiative (EIP) model.  

Minister Hackett stated “these locally-led schemes are a highlight of our Rural Development Programme. They are community based, and have brought farmers together for common causes, and have delivered real environmental gains across the country. Payments are results based, and are in recognition of environmental benefits farmers provide for biodiversity and climate action. At a time of a time of climate and biodiversity crisis, these schemes are providing important deliverables in supporting nature. I’m delighted to be announcing a new call today for this specific measure to explore rewetting of peat soils on farmland.”

This Open Call will focus on the drained peatlands in the midlands region and seeks proposals for the development and implementation of a scheme to target climate action on peatland under agricultural management. Its aim is to develop new ways of approaching the challenges being faced by these lands and which offer a new way forward.

The scheme will look for sustainable land management options for farms at catchment level which will meet some or all of the following objectives:

  • Protect the carbon stock and restore sequestration associated with drained peatlands under agricultural management.
    • maximise other ecosystem service co-benefits such as protection of biodiversity, water quality and water regulation.
    • Build resilience to the impacts of climate change at catchment/landscape level.

Minister Hackett added, “How we manage our peatlands can play an important part in removing carbon from our environment and assist us in tacking climate change. This is an important ambition within our programme for Government. This call is evidence of that ambition and will provide important learnings for the  next Rural Development programme and the management of our peatlands.”

Support for this Open Call is structured around a competitive fund. All applications will be evaluated by a committee for relevance to the EIP programme and its ability to tackle the challenges raised by the agricultural peatlands.  A final shortlist will be formed from which DAFM will select one or more projects for implementation during 2021 and 2022, with up to 100% funding provided under the new initiative.  

DAFM is already supporting 23 locally led programmes around the country. These schemes are showing real innovation and focusing on measurable results in terms of climate, biodiversity and water as well as enhancing the viability of farmers involved.

Note for Editors:

Applications should be submitted by 5pm on 23 October 2020 to [email protected].

A guideline document on this Open Call can be downloaded from the Department website at www.agriculture.gov.ie or by contacting the EIP Section at  [email protected], low call number 0761 064 415.

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